Getting their legs back: City women’s basketball using bye week to refuel

Madison Coleman, City College freshman guard drives to the basket in the first half of the game against Diablo Valley in the North Gym on Jan. 11th. ©2018 Dianne Rose

Nick Pecoraro

Sports Editor


It’s important for athletes to allow themselves some downtime every once in a while, to hit the reset button and recharge the batteries.

Both City College basketball teams endured a recent stretch of seven Big 8 Conference games over 16 days. The Lady Panthers went 3-4 during that exhausting stretch and are 4-4 (7-11 overall).

This week has served as a much-needed rest period for the Panthers before they fight for a playoff spot in the final eight games of the regular season.

Coach Julia Allender said she didn’t even have her team practice during those two weeks because she wanted her players to be as fresh as possible.

“I don’t go very deep into my bench,” said Allender. “Asking six kids to play seven games in 16 days, with each of them playing about 35 minutes a game—it’s tough.”

Over the week of Jan. 9–14, City recorded one win and two losses. The win came at Cosumnes River College Jan. 9 as freshman guard Maddison Coleman led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds in the 75–52 victory. Dejanet Porter continued her hot shooting from beyond the arc with 15 points on a perfect 5-for-5 from long distance.

“We’re much more confident in our shooting,” said Coleman, who is averaging 19.7 points and nine rebounds over her last three games. “We all had talks that we needed to step our game up. Our defense is a lot better. We scrap more and go after the ball, sprinting up and down the court.”

Despite a double-double (23 points and 13 rebounds) from Coleman, the Panthers fell at home to Diablo Valley College Jan. 11 by a score of 74–65. Point guard Brandy Huffhines added 17 points with five assists against the Vikings.

Only three points separated the Panthers from victory Jan. 13 at Folsom Lake College. Despite rallying from 22 points down in the third quarter, City came up short in the 71–68 loss, concluding the two-week marathon. Huffhines led the way with 21 points while Coleman contributed 18 points and seven rebounds.

“We were all tired, but you’ve still got to play,” said Allender. “We needed to be more aggressive putting ball on floor. We overlooked them [Folsom Lake]. We weren’t as prepared, and I take responsibility. We were just sluggish.”

City had struggled with the 3-point shot early in the season, shooting only 26 percent from long range before the Jan. 6 home game against American River College. City broke out against the Beavers, draining nine of its 18 3-point attempts, including five from Porter and three from Kelsie Graf.

In the three games from Jan. 6–11, the combination of Porter, Graf, and Coleman shot an even 50 percent (25-for-50) from beyond the 3-point line.

Despite the spike in shooting, Allender said the team may have fallen too hard for the 3-ball in the loss against Folsom Lake. Any player will say that if their legs are tired, it’s hard to consistently hit their jump shots.

“We’ve been having some light practices, trying to save our legs,” said Coleman. “It was nice to get a break. Playing is a lot of fun, but our bodies are sore.”

“Fatigue” was the analysis from Allender after the 4-for-27 display from 3-point land in the final game of the seven-game, 16-day stretch. But with the extra day off this week, the Panthers are looking to regain that consistent shooting rhythm.

“We definitely needed the bye,” said Allender. “We’ve had much more time to prepare. We’ll see if we can squeak into the playoffs.”

The Panthers have eight games remaining in the regular season and continue Big 8 play Jan. 19 at Modesto Junior College.

For more info on SCC Women’s basketball, visit