WCC heats up for women's basketball

By The Beacon | January 23, 2014 12:45am
Sophomore guard Jazmyn Johnson dribbles around teammate freshman guard Hannah Mattson.

By Mitchell Gilbert |

With a current record of 10-8 and a conference record of 3-4, the coaches and players on the women’s basketball team have a lot of good things going for them going into the second half of the season. After a big win over 24th-ranked University of San Diego, a top spot in the WCC is in view but the team must first overcome some rough road blocks.

“We have really grown from where we were at the beginning of the season,” junior Kari Luttinen said. “We have learned how to play together, and we have matured together as a team. Our conference is very competitive and we have fared well so far.”

In the tough conference match ups the team has played so far, they have shown their significant growth since last year, particularly with scoring.

“All of us are scoring threats. Every single player knows how to score,” junior guard Jasmine Wooton said. “I think along with our great leadership that makes us a very hard team to defend.”

Luttinen leads the team averaging 12.5 points per game. The Pilots’ offensive efficiency and selfless play has been a key feature of the team this year.

The Pilots are kicking off a challenging stretch of four road games against the University of San Francisco, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, and Pepperdine. After their latest win, 82-72 over San Francisco, where Luttinen scored 23 points, the Pilots focus on preparing for their upcoming road games next week.

Upcoming home games against BYU, Gonzaga, and San Diego will be crucial if the Pilots are to stay in the running for the WCC championship. The Pilots have a sense of what is needed to beat the WCC leaders, having already played the top five teams in the conference. Their goal of winning the conference will be a difficult task with six teams ranked in the top 100 in the country and No. 25 Gonzaga staying in the WCC’s top spot.

This is also the final season for the Women’s basketball team head coach Jim Sollars, who hopes for a strong finish to his time as coach.

“Winning the season is always our number one goal.  If we can play to our potential we can compete for the championship,” Sollars said.  “We need to continue to make progress throughout the rest of the season, but none of our goals are outside of our reach.”

The Pilots are currently only three games out of first place and ranked sixth in the conference.

“We have a lot of fight, and we don’t fold when faced with pressure,” Wooten said.  “We are kind of an underdog in the conference and that helps us a lot.”

Their next home game is Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Chiles Center against San Francisco.