SCC’s women’s basketball team ended the 2017 season in fifth place in the NWAC North region.
It takes a position of fourth place, at least, to qualify for the NWAC Tournament, but despite not meeting this goal, the players and Coach Darnellia Russell chose to describe this past season as more of a success and a “turnaround,” after an 0-22 season from the year before.
The main expectation, Head Coach Darnellia Russell said, was “growth and improvement.”
“We spent a lot of time training and building confidence and expected leadership,” Russell said.
With many returning sophomores on the team, players cited the increase of experience as one of the reasons for their improvement.
“A lot of our sophomores really took on a leadership role and stepped up and were able to play more confidently on the court,” said sophomore and point guard Dani Hayes.
More experience was also a factor in one of the more triumphant moments of the season: beating Skagit Valley College.
“Our best moment as a team was beating Skagit,” Hayes said. “I don’t think that’s something our program has ever done before.”
Hayes’ teammates agreed. According to power forward Jamia Moore, the win was monumental and it played a big part in boosting the team’s confidence.
“It was just a big turnaround,” Moore said. “... Everybody got smacked by Skagit, Skagit was the team to beat.
“It was just so exciting (at that game) … When you know that the game is over — it was just like a burst of energy, our hearts were racing, we had smiles on our faces. We were just ready,” Moore continued.
Other successes came in the form of ‘almost-wins,’ games in which experience was gained but the game was ultimately lost due to “tiny mistakes,” according to Moore.
The team ended with a 6-15 season, a record that signaled a marked improvement, but also one that showed them that there is more to be learned.
“If I could go back and do something different, I would increase the difficulty in our practices,” Russell said. “We saw significant improvement in our performance, both individually and as a team, but I believe with harder practices we could have finished with more wins.”
Still, with a team of mainly graduating sophomores, the team may have to start from scratch building team bonds and experience as the new season comes up.
“I wish I would have just savored the games a little more,” Hayes said. “It’s crazy how fast the season flies by.”