December 11, 2018
  • 3:00 pm Sundance Winner Documentary Comes to Campus
  • 8:00 am CSUDH Music And Dance Department Offer Winter Concerts This Weekend
  • 4:03 pm Surpassing the Inevitable
  • 4:00 pm Former Toro Baller Made His Mark Over 7,200 Miles Away
  • 2:30 pm Prepare to Relive Your Childhood

By Joshua Samuel
Staff Writer

Four games into their 2018-2019 season, the CSUDH Women’s Basketball team has a 2-2 record and Head Coach John Bonner believes his team needs only to improve a few things, most notably shooting, as it begins conference action this weekend.

“I think being able to play in the preseason gave us a lot of opportunities to learn what we need to get better at and things we need to fix going into conference in order to compete,” Bonner said.

One of the benefits of the Toros’ preseason schedule was the opportunity to compete in two non-conference games in Anchorage, Alaska.

“I think chemistry-wise it helped us,” Bonner explained. “Clearly you want to go out and get some wins, but I think these trips are kind of bigger than competitive games [because] these trips put us in a position to grow as a team and get closer.”

The team began the season Nov. 4 with an exhibition game against a tough Division I School, Fresno State. Although they lost 102-47, senior guard Heaven Holmes had a strong night, finishing with 25 points on 7-18 field goals.

Following their exhibition loss, the Toros bench played a key role Nov. 9, helping secure a 64-50 win against a competitive Concordia Eagles team. Reserve player Dijour Ledbetter scored 11 points while contributing seven rebounds – four of which came on the Toros’ offensive end. Likewise, Ahlisha Henderson put her own big imprint on the game by chipping in 13 points on 4-9 shots and collecting eight rebounds.

In their next contest on Nov. 10, CSUDH beat Biola University 74-65. Once again, the bench played a crucial role – Ledbetter contributing 13 points.  Heaven Holmes poured in 24 points shooting 5-11 from 3-pt range and 6-17 from the field overall.

The Toros then traveled to Alaska, for the Seawolf Hoops Classic only to drop their first two road games. In spite of Ledbetter’s double-double of 17 points and 12 boards, CSUDH dropped a 65-61 contest against Alaska Fairbanks Nov. 16 and then lost 69-53 to perennial Division II standout Alaska Anchorage on Nov.17.

Bonner said he’s pleased with the defensive effort of the team, but the offense still needs work.

“I think our defense has been steady,” he said. “I think we need to become more efficient on the offense end, so we need to spend our time just finding some more joy [in playing as a unit] and [shooting] the basketball.”

The Toros’ have been scoring relatively easily in the high-percentage areas of the court, however, their perimeter shooting struggles have relegated their overall shooting percentages to just 34 percent.

“We have to improve our field goal percentage,” Bonner emphasized. “Right now, we are shooting at a very low clip [and] we just have to do a better job [of] getting players in all their spots so they can make shots,” said Bonner.

Now the team’s focus turns toward California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) conference action. The preseason CCAA Coaches Poll picked CSUDH to finish in seventh place, which would put it in the playoffs. UC San Diego’ received 12 first-place votes while Cal Poly Pomona and CSU East Bay rounded out the top three.

“We have plenty of teams to beat, we were picked to finish seventh in our conference, so there are just six teams ahead of us [and] every team in the CCAA is tough,” he said.

The Toros’ next two games come on the road against Cal State East Bay on Nov. 29, and at Cal State Monterey Bay on Dec. 1, before returning home to go against Fresno Pacific on Dec 7.