Shining bright amid tough year

The clock hits zero and your teammates embrace you while your opponent sulks off the court, dejected.

Every kid who grows up playing basketball reenacts making a game-winning shot. Be it in their backyard, the park or the gym, they hope to make it a reality one day.

Aniese Palmore experienced that moment during the Lady Corsairs' final game of the season, nailing a late second three to upset the higher-ranked Citrus College Owls.

"They expected the win; I wanted to hit that shot and make it count," Palmore said.

The victory was one of the few bright spots for the Santa Monica College women's basketball team, and it is only their second win for 2013.

"We tried not to let it [the season] affect us," said Palmore. "We tried to keep a positive mindset at all times."

Amid the grueling year, Palmore excelled as a shining star among the dark. She was named to the Western State South Division's all-conference first team last month.

Palmore said that it is a privilege to be named to the all-conference team.

"It makes me want to continue to work harder; sometimes I can be a bit lazy," she said jokingly.

Finishing up her freshman year at SMC, Palmore's love for basketball began at a young age.

"It all started in elementary school," Palmore said. "I used to play every day at recess with my friends."

Friendly competition turned serious, and Palmore became a standout at Santa Monica High School.

In college, Palmore can now note several differences that indicate that she is playing at a higher level.

"I had to get better conditioned," Palmore said. "Going to 20-minute halves and a bigger court, I played more than I expected."

However, the adjustment to the next level came naturally to Palmore.

She led the Lady Corsairs in points, scoring 12 per game, and assists, dishing out 5.2 per contest.

She also led the team in minutes played at 11.8, and was third in rebounding, snatching up 6.9 per game.

Not only was she stellar statistically, but she carved out a role as team leader, a role she has embraced.

Following her game win against Citrus, head coach Lydia Strong said Palmore had been their leader all season long, the key that holds the team together.

"I like to keep a good image for my teammates," said Palmore. "I don't like to appear down or frustrated. It's important for me to take advantage of this [opportunity]."

As a returning leader for next season, there are certain changes she wants to see occur.

"We need to be able to play two halves like the Citrus game," said Palmore. "We had a good bond between us. The chemistry is there. I want a better season and to go further."

There is no question the talent is there, but it remains to be seen how the team will mesh next year with the additions of incoming players.

"We're really talented; we just were not using it together," said Palmore. "Only one or two of us were coming to play each game."

Whatever the future may hold, Palmore said she wants to continue to hone her talent and reach new heights.

"Hopefully I can get a scholarship to a good basketball school, preferably not too far from here," said Palmore. "In the future, I just want to do anything with basketball."