The article below originally appeared on the MillbraePatch and is being reprinted with permission.
The College of San Mateo women’s basketball team is off to a rough 0-3 start. After losing games to Monterey Peninsula and De Anza, the Bulldogs fell 70-61 to visiting Los Medanos College on Wednesday night.
CSM, which has just one returning starter, was constantly dominated on the glass and suffered from repeated turnovers.
CSM fell into a 23-13 hole minutes into the game, only to respond with a 12-0 run to stay within a point.
After going to halftime trailing by nine points, the Bulldogs had a much better second half offensively. The hosts looked more consistent and made better use of spacing on the floor, which helped them get easy baskets.
Despite CSM’s constant push to put points on the board, Los Medanos’ size was too much to overcome as the Mustangs kept pounding the glass with intensity.
Los Medanos freshman Khyia Slone paced her team with 22 points and eight steals. She made nine of 10 free throws, including some clutch ones down the stretch to secure the game.
Los Medanos did most of its damage in the paint, going after offensive rebounds aggressively and converting them to make the most out of its possessions.
Three Mustangs — center Shelby Secor and forwards Keyontee White and Dee Dee Miller — amassed 34 of the team’s 43 rebounds.
Secor had a monster double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds, while White (12 points, 10 rebounds) added one of her own and had seven blocks.
“We pretty much dominated on the glass,” said Los Medanos assistant coach James Vreonis. “Our bigs did a great job staying aggressive.”
A streaking Los Medanos squad has now won five games in a row thanks to the tenacious rebounding and shot-blocking provided by its frontcourt.
CSM, playing a significantly smaller lineup than last year, needs to resort to high-level execution instead of relying on big-time plays and momentum swings like it did last season with the athleticism of Janisa Jones and Erica Hayes, who signed with Dixie State after leading the state in steals.
With less opportunities to turn the game into a race this season, the Bulldogs aim more to run an efficient half-court offense through Burlingame High product Trish Malaspina, the lone returning starter.
Thought Malaspina has responded to the challenge, CSM has a tough to task to overcome, having added 10 freshmen this offseason.
With only five returning players, the Bulldogs face a lot of miscommunication issues which shows in their offensive sets and their defensive assignments.
“We’re in a bit of a slump right now,” said freshman Kimmie Fung. “It’s a learning process for all of us. We’re a new team and we’re just starting to mesh together as a team.”
CSM added a new assistant coach in Don Robinson, a University of Nevada- Reno alum who has overseas experience.
The Bulldogs hope improvement in the early games gives them valuable experience heading into their conference season.
“We have a lot of young players, they have a lot to learn,” said CSM assistant coach Vange Chau. “It’s only our third game. We’ll get better with every game.”