West Pointing Cal State East Bay in Right Direction

  • December 21, 2008

By Matt Schwab
Staff writer
Article 12/21/2008

THE GUARD-HEAVY Cal State East Bay women's basketball team is a bit light in wins under new coach Toni West, but the big picture remains the same for the former top San Francisco State assistant - bright.

West, who also guided the Las Positas College women's team to a 20-win season and a state tournament berth in 2006-07, the first year of the Hawks program, brings high energy and possibility thinking to her new digs. The nearly post-less Pioneers, who play a four-out, one-in offense, entered the week 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the Cal Pac Conference, but have been picked to finish second.

West's experience last season at San Francisco State in the Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), which the Pioneers are set to join for the 2009-10 season, enhances her value locally. Consequently, while Cal State rides out this winter storm, West needs to put the mechanisms in place for even tougher sledding. She said it will take time to recruit and assemble a competitive team for the next level.

" I am excited, though, with a couple of people that have shown interest," West said, "and I feel that if we start off with players of the right caliber and character, we will be able to rise to the challenge."

A former coach at Delta College and Milpitas High, West seems to love where she's landed ... home for the holidays.

"I could not have asked for a more perfect opportunity, with such support from the administration, players and community," she said. "The athletic department is a great environment where they are equally as passionate about winning, but so supportive in allowing me time to develop a program. I am even luckier to have Beth Murdock, the former assistant (under ex-head coach Sara Judd) stay on staff, as she knows the campus inside and out, and has a great deal of knowledge about the game, and understands and believes in my vision.

"And of course being from the Bay, it is great that I get to stay at home where my friends and family can also support my dream."

West's job got tougher this past week when standout guard Marie Colon (San Francisco), a transfer from Skyline College, suffered a medial collateral ligament tear, and will be lost for the season. One of eight new junior college transfers on the Pioneers, Colon made a name for herself with 30 points in a wild 104-103 loss to Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks before Thanksgiving, and had been averaging 11 points and 4.1 rebounds a game.

The Pioneers are small, consequently they look to push the ball and get the utmost out of guards galore. The Pioneers are led by 5-foot-3 transfer guard Morgan Hunter (Sacramento), who is averaging 12 points a game; 5-4 transfer guard Kristina Lin (Honolulu, Ha.), 10 ppg; and returning 5-3 senior guard Amy Elliott (Moreau Catholic), 10 ppg. Another contributor is 5-8 freshman Frieda Li (Oceanside), averaging 7.9 ppg and leading in rebounds with 5.8 per game.

In the post position, Nicole Hornage (Oakland), is scoring at 7.3 ppg.

TIDBITS: Cal State East Bay guard/forward Fabien Baker (Oakland) was selected as the Cal Pac Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the dates of Dec. 8-15, 2008. The junior averaged 17.5 points and eight rebounds a game as the Pioneers went 2-0 this past weekend in California Pacific Conference play. ... Pioneers' senior outside hitter Jackie Randolph was named Association of Division III Independents 2008 All-Independent Women's Volleyball Team Player of the Year. Randolph was also named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association to the first team All-America team. Senior Kelly Paris was named to the first team. Setter Roxanne Neely was a second-team selection.

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