Conference Champions Gear Up For Repeat

The SMC Women's Basketball team enter this season with a target on their back. Not only will they get their oppositions best efforts, but they have to mix brand new players in their system. Head Coach Lydia Strong and her Corsairs are coming off winning the Conference Championship last season, and so far they have won their first two games to begin this season.

The Women's basketball program has obtained three conference championships in program history, in 1982, 2008, and 2017. Strong has coached the Women's basketball program since 2000, and has guided the program to two conference titles.

After winning two championships, Strong said: "First off we want more, I don't want there to be a nine-year gap, that's just me being a competitor, but every team is different ... you may not win it every year, but I want to be in the top two or three every year."

Rejinae Crandell, a freshman and forward from Lawndale High School, describes the process of meshing with new teammates. "It's good, I'm already well adjusted, It's brand new .. and I like it."She said.

First-year guard, Luna Rivera out of Bishop Conaty, is 5'4 and currently leads the team with 10 rebounds per game. Rivera has the ability to get the ball while up in the air, and gives her team multiple chances on offense. When asked about that statistic, Rivera said, "I just remember boxing out is a major key in succeeding or winning in a game. So it's not only about scoring, but like boxing out can help your team stay winning."

Sophomore point guard Jessica Melamed, a returner from the Championship winning team last year, has great ball handling skills with an effective jump-shot, and aggressively drives to the rim at will. She described the atmosphere of playing with an entirely new group of players up to this point.

"So far it's been great," Melamed said. "We're just building on it every day in practice, and in games, so hopefully we add that to our record."

The Women's basketball team will begin tournament play, but they return home on Saturday, Dec. 9 to host Moorpark College at 1 p.m.

While meshing brand new players may be challenging, Coach Strong and this team appear motivated to make it happen. The Lady Corsairs want to protect their title, and that road begins now.