Dons mature, ready to go into next season2 min read

PENETRATE+-+Shayla+McPhearson+%2833%29+drives+to+the+paint+against+a+Delta+College+player+in+a+54-41+victory+over+Delta+on+Nov.+20%2C+2012.

Rajvir Kaur

PENETRATE - Shayla McPhearson (33) drives to the paint against a Delta College player in a 54-41 victory over Delta on Nov. 20, 2012.

Rajvir Kaur, Sports Co-Editor

The Dons finished third in the NorCal Conference and made it to the second round of playoffs before losing to Fresno City College on March 2.

Arden Kragalott, head coach of De Anza College’s women’s basketball team, said that this season was overall a successful season.

“I’m happy with our progress,” said Kragalott. “But [the women] need to get stronger physically and mentally for next year…I’m looking forward to that.”

Alex Scoffone, the only sophomore on the team, and freshman Shayla McPhearson made all conference in NorCal.

The 2012-13 season roster had 10 freshman and only one sophomore.

Coming back with nine other current freshmen is point guard McPhearson, who described the past season a rough one.

At the beginning of the season, it took some time to work out differences within the team, she said. One week, she said, there was a daily argument that resulted in players walking out of the gym.

But the women held team meetings and took time getting to know teammates.

“We had our moments where we [didn’t] connect,” she said. “But…we realized that we are a team…and we have a lot of potential to grow.”

Their only conference losses were to Mission College, the undefeated winners of the NorCal Conference; Ohlone College (second in NorCal, 8-4) and San Jose City College (5-7). The Dons lost twice a piece to Mission and Ohlone, and once to San Jose City.

While 7-5 in the conference, the Dons were 18-12 overall, pulling big wins over San Joaquin Delta College, which they beat 54-41, and Chabot College, which the Dons faced three times. Though De Anza lost to Chabot the first time and last time, the Dons beat the Gladiators 64-61 in their second faceoff on Dec. 21, 2012.

The Dons also beat San Jose City’s Jaguars 64-56 in their first match against each other.

The Dons won round one of the playoffs, beating Consumnes River College 61-44, but they lost 81-51 in round two when they faced the undefeated Fresno City’s Rams.

Kragalott said the only weakness this team had was the lack of experience. She said at a college level, players have to work harder and run harder and mentally it was a confidence issue.

Outside of adapting to the collegiate level of basketball, one setback the Dons faced early in the year was an injury to freshman starter Lanyssa Fiaui, who cracked and chipped a bone in her ankle.

Kragalott said though the women returning next year have matured from over this season, they know they have to be better.

“I think they know that now,” said Kragalott. “Just from the experience from playoffs this year … they’re ready to go.”

Joining the Dons will be teammates Fiaui and Chyna Cole, who was also red-shirted this season.

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