Lady Trojans coast to another victory

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Having a women’s basketball program may be a new commodity at Skyline, but for the team itself, winning is old news.

On Nov. 15, the lady Trojans roughed up American River College with a 67-56 home win, improving their record to 4-1 and increasing their wining streak to three games.

A women’s basketball program isn’t just fresh to Skyline, but it’s new to the renovated gym as well. During a period in the first half, when the Trojans had possession of the ball, there was a lengthy stoppage of the game as the shot clock displayed 73 seconds, as opposed to the 30 that it’s supposed to show.

The first half was extremely sloppy for both Skyline and American River, as they both had bad play execution and numerous miscues.

“I think we had some moments of brilliance and some moments we need to clean up,” said Coach Brittany Lindhe. “I think that the pressure definitely affected us in a lot of ways.”

However, guard Esmeralda Lopez-Rivas masked the ugliness as she led the Trojans with 16 points in the first half. She not only dominated the paint, but she made many shots while she was fouled driving to the hole. You could tell that she was going to have a monster game as she opened the game with a nice 16-foot jumper.

In general, the transition defense was a bit slow, as both teams took longer than expected to catch up with the opposing offense.

And although Coach Lindhe stresses upon equal distribution, the Trojans’ offense relied too much on Lopez-Rivas.

The first half came to a close as forward Salote Tafuna went for a lay-up and got fouled in the process. She capitalized on the foul by making her free throw, perfectly executing the three-point play. At the end of the half, the Trojans were leading by a score of 31-26.

According to Coach Lindhe, during halftime, she tried to wake up her players, as they were playing both sluggish and disinterested.

In the beginning minutes of the second half, Lopez-Rivas went for a lay-up and got fouled, landing awkwardly on her leg, causing a bad cramp in the process. Because of this, a substitute player came in to shoot her free throw, where Lopez-Rivas walked off the court and to the bench, and never came back in to play. Soon after this, the Trojans realized that they couldn’t rely on her anymore.

But for the Trojans, they never bothered to let a matter like this bother them.

“In a team game, there’s always someone that’s going to step up,” said Coach Lindhe.

And that’s exactly what the Trojans did. Guard Shunise Criswell picked up the offense where it left off and led the Trojans with 11 points in the second half. Guard Marie Colon chipped in as well, as she not only added 8 points, but she made a highlight reel play by making a huge block on a guaranteed lay-up by an American River player.

“Shunise stepped up for us and made some huge plays,” said Coach Lindhe.

For the most part, American River struggled on offense, as the closest margin they ever garnered was eight points.

The miscues and inconsistencies continued in the second half, but the Trojans played better defense, as bodies were flying left and right after loose balls and steals.

In the end, the Trojans were just too much for American River, as they coasted to a 67-56 win.

“I think we made some plays down the stretch that we really needed to, and kind of pulled out and got that nice lead,” said Coach Lindhe. “It was a great team win. Everyone contributed and we just have to keep doing that as we move forward.”