Women’s basketball preview

Brandon Hensley

After finishing just short of the playoffs last season despite their 19 wins, the Glendale College women’s basketball team has its sights set high for the 2008-09 season.

“Our goal is to break the school record with 21 wins and make the playoffs,” said head coach Monica Hang.

Featuring a small but talented group, Hang apparently isn’t short on confidence when talking about her team’s playoff chances, which is coming off a third place finish in the Vaquero shootout earlier this month.

The Lady Vaqs are short on size, however, their tallest player being 6 foot freshman Mariam Vladys, so Hang said the Vaqs will have to use their speed and quickness to combat their lack of height.

Offensively, the Vaqs run a triangle offense (yes, the same offense the Lakers run), which allows players to choose from many options at any given time, whether they want to shoot of find the open teammate.

“It’s a thinking man’s offense. You have to really pay attention and watch the defense, and your teammates, what they do,” Hang said.

Hang said that because of their height, the Vaqs will have to “stay wide, create spacing and attack.”

Glendale certainly has the talent to score. Freshman guard Rachel Estrella came in to last week’s action leading the team in scoring with over 17 points a game. “Rachel has the ability to score endlessly,” Hang said.

Sophomore team captain Paola Gupilan, who plays guard and forward, is maybe the Vaqs most versatile player, leading the team in rebounds and assists. Hang praises her knowledge of the game. “She can shoot the three, she can drive to the basket, she can make great passes.”

The Vaqs are counting on their returning players, including Gupilan, Laura Armenian and Mie Aoki to build on last season, but they also get help this year with sophomore transfer Neyra Valenzuela, who played at UC San Diego last season.

At 5 feet 6 inches, Valenzuela can play guard or forward and will help bring experience to an otherwise young team.

Amanda Manahan, who won league MVP while playing a LA Marshall last season, highlights the freshman group.

When healthy, the Vaqs will try to use their speed on defense, mixing up zone and man-to-man coverage, and pressing and trapping when they see fit. Rebounding will be a question mark as the season goes on, going back to their lack of height.

A concern right now, Hang said, is managing a players’ time. The team at full strength consists of 11 players, but some are battling injuries right now, and Hang will have to adjust her rotation accordingly, so as not to overtax her players, which is important, especially in the early going.

As the Vaqs try for a playoff spot this year, Hang at least likes her teams mind set and attitude.
“We have more athletes that want to play, and want to win, and want to succeed, which is a positive within the program,” she said.