Women’s basketball embraces pressure heading into new season

Terrel Emerson

Trisha Raniewicz is heading into her second season as head coach of the Cerritos College women’s basketball team and this year is going to be an uphill climb.

“Each year, you are always making adjustments. It’s the part of coaching I enjoy the most, making adjustments to fit new personnel,” she said.

New personnel is right as last season Raniewicz’s roster had 10 sophomores and only two freshmen. This season, it is the exact opposite.

“I always enjoy getting a chance to work with players on the goals they have as individuals. Being around passionate players who put the team first while also becoming a better player on a daily basis,” she said.

To make matters even worse one of the sophomores will miss the entire season due to a back injury.

That sophomore is last season’s South Coast Conference South Division Freshman of the Year Allyson O’Brien.

“I was just in shock. It was depressing but I just hope my presence on the team will still be heard even when I’m not on the court,” she said.

Her coach understands the significance of the loss of O’Brien but she is looking for the team to continue to mesh and gel in her absence.

“I really am empathetic with [O’Brien] in having to face adversity with her injury. She is an important part of our program and although her role has changed, I do believe she will enhance our program with her off-court leadership.

“Our offensive sets allow players the opportunity to knock down high percentage shots. We have the ability to get each other easy shots and I really encourage the team to continue to look for each other in that way,” she said.

As a freshman, O’Brien led the team in scoring at just over 11 points per game.

As a result the lone sophomore on the team is guard Kaylyn James, who played in 29 games but only averaged 3.3 points per game, will be relied on heavily without O’Brien on the court.

“I’m just going to take it as it comes. It doesn’t really add that much pressure, just a little bit,” James said.

Raniewicz has full confidence in the team despite being bit by the injury but before the season even starts but she thinks the pressure will do them some good.

“Pressure is a privilege. We have a competitive team and will take on adversity by sticking together in all circumstances. Basketball is a team sport and it takes everyone being invested in order to see good results,” she said.

In addition to James, Raniewicz will look to freshman Angie Ferreira to step up and take the reigns of the team. Ferreira seems to be ready and up for the challenge.

“I’m going to try to do the best I can do for the team. I want to help the team grow and get that championship we’ve been wanting,” she said.

With things not going as planned to begin the year, Ferreira doesn’t think there will be many rough patches for the young team.

“I think we’re going to be okay. We just have to gel together and use our team chemistry. It doesn’t matter, sophomore or freshman, it doesn’t matter; we’re going to be fine,” she said.

Knowing that there is an uphill climb coming for the Falcons, Raniewicz feels the one word that describes this team is “gritty.”