By ALEX RODGERS
With a winning start and a promising season, the Cumberland County College’s women’s basketball team is talented, fierce and at times, flat out amazing. When entertaining their first home game against Montgomery Community College, not only did they control the outcome of the games the entire match, but they made such dazzling moves half of the Montgomery team forgot what a pair of ankles were and started doing their homework on the sideline.
The women’s basketball team is anchored by Head Coach Steve Kaneshiki, and Assistant Coaches Audrey Carter and Sharon Waller. With a new year, new recruits, and a new attitude, the theme of this year is adjustment and growth. “We’ll go as far as we mature, and team chemistry is a key factor,” said Coach Kaneshiki. With a team largely consisting of freshmen players new to the college atmosphere, Coach Kaneshiki cited some of the adjustments they will need to make to continue their success, “They have to get used to a faster game, a more physical game. They have to become more disciplined, and on this level you have to run plays.”
Returning this year for the Dukes are team captains Kathy Jakucki and Brittani Bailey who know well of Coach Steve’s methods, and his dedication to their young team’s growth into college level athletes. “Coach Steve’s practices always serve a purpose; the drills we run are always implemented in our upcoming game,” Jakucki said. She adds, “We have a talented team that will have to adjust.”
The women’s basketball team this year is founded on a profound love of the game, and the eagerness to learn from their insightful coach and great team chemistry.
Transferring from Lincoln University this year is sophomore guard Keyona Grant who put up a thousand points in high school. Coming in as freshmen is an army of talented players: captain guard Sarah Gibbs of Ocean City who lead the Red Raiders to a Group III championship, Charity Harris of Vineland who also put up a thousand points for the Fighting Clan during her high school career, fellow captain guard Nicole Conroy of Sacred Heart who played on three CAL National Champions alongside shooting guard Ashleigh Elwell of Cumberland Regional, CAL American Second Team forward Kyana McCarthy from Hammonton, Tri-County Royal Honorable Mention forward Stephanie Krauss of Delsea, CAL American Honorable Mention guard Lydia Rentas, forward Willow Ravell of Vineland, and forward Kelsey Rafine of Millville.
“We’re a talented team who play fundamental basketball,” said freshman captain Sarah Gibbs. “We’re doing a pretty good job so far, and we have good hopes of making the playoffs this year,” she adds.
The Lady Dukes can’t do it alone. They need students to fill up the stands at every home game, so come on out and show your support.
For more informarion on women’s basketball check out the college’s website at http://www.cccnj.edu.