The Yuba College women’s basketball team was able to use its revamped defense and hustle in Wednesday’s home opener against Ohlone College. The 49ers avoided early foul trouble en route to an 86-70 victory.
“We had a lot of nerves, but they were able to keep their composure and show their determination tonight so I’m really proud of that for us,” Yuba College head coach Stuart Welch said.
Right off the bat it was evident that Yuba had done its homework on defensive traps and forcing turnovers. Multiple 49ers were able to tally steals, leading to fast break points.
Among them was Leilani Hanks, who coach Welch said showed great hustle.
“She plays both ends of the floor really well,” Welch said. “She can do it all from taking charges to being a key player on defense or even scoring a lot like she did tonight,” he added.
After the first quarter, Welch and his staff were able to make some adjustments after multiple 49ers players found themselves with numerous fouls.
Providing a momentum shifting spark for her team in the second quarter was Raenette McCrae, who picked off a pass and jetted down the court for an easy lay-in to put Yuba ahead 32-25.
Now that Yuba was starting to clean up their strategy, Ohlone really struggled to find baskets.
McCrae was able to shut down Ohlone’s Breanna Thomas on multiple possessions, hyping up the crowd along the way.
Heading into halftime with the score in favor of Yuba, 53-33, the 49ers were able to hold Ohlone to just 12 points in the second quarter.
“I was much more pleased with the way we responded after that first quarter,” Welch said.
After the break, the 49ers picked right back up where they left off, receiving some help from some returning talent on last year’s squad.
Gloria Leon-Campos put on a show with multiple no-look passes, including one in the post to Wendy Sifuentes that put the 49ers ahead 78-59 with just under six minutes in regulation.
“Gloria played phenomenally, we don’t really have a true point guard right now, so for her to battle through cramps and finish out this game the way she did was huge for us,” Welch commented.
Notable standouts for the 49ers included McCrae with 23 points, Hanks with 19 points and Nia Williams with 18 points. On defense, McCrae finished with eight steals and Leon-Campos tallied six steals.
“I think what really helped us tonight was that it wasn’t about any one person. We played for each other and as a team and that will really help us moving forward, especially with this upcoming tournament,” Hanks said.
Yuba College (1-0) will play in the West Los Angeles tournament starting Friday.