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After tough transition, women’s basketball pulls together, improves overall teamwork

Sarah Helwig, Staff Reporter

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After a rough start, coach Mike Riley has taken over De Anza College’s women’s basketball team mid-season and brought the team back to the basics of the game: fundamentals and attitude.

“From the time I took over they were averaging giving up 80 points a game, and now it’s down to 59 so we’ve gotten incredibly better,” said Riley, who coached his first game for the team on Dec. 9.
Riley has seen a huge improvement in the players throughout the season and said, “the sophomores have provided a lot of leadership.”

Team captain Angela Obasohan, returning sophomore and English major, said this season has been a roller coaster for the team. After having their head coach leave for another job, she said, their assistant coach moved up and the transition was rocky.

“The power got out of control,” Obasohan said. “Some of the girls weren’t really having it.”

Under the assistant coach’s leadership, Obasohan lost the joy of playing basketball.

“I didn’t want to go to practice,” she said. “Games were like, ‘Well, we’re gonna lose anyway. Our new coach came, Coach Riley, and the whole situation changed.”

After Riley started to coach the team with a little over a month’s notice, Obasohan felt a positive change in the players.

“All the girls had their love again. We had fun, we laughed, we had so much fun at practice, and when we won our first game, it was the most exciting thing in the entire world,” she said.

While the players are starting to come together, Riley sees room for improvement.

“We’re struggling with shots. We don’t shoot very well,” said Riley.

“They’re the hardest working group I’ve ever had, and they’re getting better at fundamentals every day. I think that’s why they’re starting to be better; they’re starting to learn about the game,” Riley said.

Team Captain Olivia Wissig, returning sophomore and computer science major, said the biggest difference this year is the team’s mentality. Wissig said last year the team had an older mindset, but this year, “we’re focused more on developing and looking forward to the future,” which is a positive thing to have with a young team.

“Both years we had a lot of skill, but I feel like this year our knowledge is a lot better and we’re starting to glue a lot better,” said captain Abrianna Guido, returning sophomore and kinesiology major.

Riley identifies Mission and Foothill as two teams in the league that are tough to beat, “but we should be able to compete with everybody else in the league and beat them.”

“I’d like to finish over 500 in the league and I think that’s doable,” Riley said. “The biggest thing is trying to make sure they all do well in school and that they have a place to go play if they want to play.”

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