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Funny things happening at COC

College of the Canyons women’s basketball winning in unfamiliar ways; the men are off to a rough s

Posted: December 16, 2008 10:04 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Over the years, the College of the Canyons women's basketball team has been so strong at one particular position; another moniker for the squad could be College of the Point Guards.

But a funny thing has happened this season.

The Lady Cougars are not getting the same contribution from the position, yet they're still winning.
COC is 8-4and tied for sixth in the state's rankings.

"We're just better athletes than some of teams we've played," explained COC head coach Greg Herrick.

"We get to the rim and rebound better."

Herrick said before the team even played a game that this year's squad was the most athletic he has coached in his 17 years with the program.

But with numbers like 69.6 points per game, 61.6 shots per game and 13.2 assists per contest, it's a head scratcher as to how the team has continued to win.

Herrick has said in the past that he wants his team to take 100 shots a game. They've led the state in scoring nine times and they've had point guards who've averaged close to what the team is averaging in assists right now.

Take Britney Bradley for another head-scratching example. She is down nearly six assists per game at 3.9 per contest.

Jasmine Crayon, the team's other floor general, is dishing out 3.6 assists per game.

"It's a process. All the kids aren't buying into the philosophy as quickly as we had hoped," Herrick said.

He said the Lady Cougars' style of play is driving him nuts.

But it's working.

The team is rebounding well with 5-foot-10-inch freshman Ashley Wakefield pulling down 10 boards per game.

Bradley's playing solid defense and scoring.

She leads the team with 14.6 points and 2.9 steals per game.

And Herrick is getting what he asked for in one respect.

The major point of emphasis for recruiting after the 2007-08 season was athleticism.

Herrick wanted his team to better compete with three-time defending state champion Mt. San Antonio College.

The Lady Cougars nearly knocked Mt. SAC off Nov. 29.

COC led by two with about a minute to play when Wakefield drove to the basket and was called for a charge.

Wakefield bounced the ball in disgust after the play and was called for a technical foul.

Mt. SAC cashed in the free throws and added two more points with its possession. The four-point swing was the difference in a 70-68 loss.

Though Herrick said it was a bad call and the Lady Cougars lost the game, they've bounced back nicely and won three straight, including the frosting on the cake as far as this weird season has been - a 55-35 victory over Long Beach City College on Dec. 9.

COC will play in a couple of tournaments - the Coast Christmas Classic from Dec. 19-21 and the San Jose Lady Jag Classic Dec. 27-29 - before a game against Cypress College Jan. 3.

Western State Conference South Division play tips off Jan. 7 at home against Citrus College.

On the other side of the coin, the COC men are struggling.

The Cougars are 3-9 after a 10-18 campaign last season.

Except for some solid individual play, the Cougars aren't clicking on the cusp of their own tournament.

Sophomore forward Justin Smith is averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest.

Sophomore guard Jason Holzwarth was named the conference's Southern Division player of the week after scoring a combined 34 points in two games.

But the team is ninth in the Western State Conference in offense and 12th out of 14 teams in defense.

The Cougar Holiday Classic begins Dec. 27.


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