Huskies Prepare for Playoffs Armed with Toughness and Depth
by Cerwin D. Haynes
(thumbnail by Tadzio Garcia)
The East Los Angeles College Huskies have made the CCCAA Playoffs for the seventh-straight season. They'll begin their road to State on the road as they travel to Glendale City College this Saturday, February 29th, to take on the Vaqueros at 7pm. Glendale, the Western State-South Conference champions, is 26-2 on the season and the #4 seed in the CCCAA South Region playoff bracket. ELAC, at 16-12 on the year, is the #13 seed.
In a first for the SCC-North Conference, all five teams have made the playoffs. One reason for this is that all five schools are in the top-25 in RPI - which ranks a team's win-loss record along with the strength of that team's schedule (which is based on the quality of the opponents that team has faced during the year). In fact, ELAC finished the regular season ranked 21st in RPI - because of this, the Huskies were able to avoid a Wednesday first-round play-in game.
ELAC has three things going for them as they prepare for their postseason run:
- All SCC-North First Teamer and freshman Delilah Kimble-Gray (thumbnail), who averaged 13.9 point, 7.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals for the regular season. She has been a swiss-army knife who provides the team with quite a bit of everything: scoring, passing, rebounding and defense.
- East LA plays a style that can put a lot of pressure on opponents on both sides of the ball. The team scraps for loose balls on defense, and Head Coach Bruce Turner likes his players to attack and push the ball off of rebounds and opponent turnovers to drive to the rim. A perfect example of this was in ELAC's game at Pasadena City, where they scrambled to score eight straight points in the final 51 seconds of the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it into overtime.
- For the first three months of the season, the Huskies had a rotation of just seven players. But within this month of February Coach Turner got back some more depth, including:
- Standout sophomore reserve guard Katherine Headspeth (pictured above), who in only six games is averaging 14.5 points this season. At 6' 2", Headspeth provides a great deal of offensive versatility: she can get into the paint and score inside the paint as well as knock down shots behind the arc (38.1% three-point shooting).
- Another sophomore reserve guard, Karmyl Gholar, who made her season debut in the team's last game at Rio Hondo. In 33 minutes of play, she grabbed a whopping 14 rebounds to go along with 12 points.
Huskies tip off against the Vaqueros in Verdugo Gym on the campus of GCC this Saturday at 7pm.
- Freshman starting forward Maya Clark made the All SCC-North Second Team. She averaged 9.8 points and seven rebounds per game this season.