The Lengthy Seashore State girls’s basketball crew gained the Huge West Convention Event championship in March of 2017, then almost upset Oregon State within the first spherical of the NCAA Event, falling by one level.
That was Jody Wynn’s ultimate season as head coach. When she departed to take the job on the College of Washington, incoming coach Jeff Cammon greater than had his work reduce out for him as a result of the top four players on the 2016-17 team graduated.
The cabinet was naked.
“We needed to begin from scratch,” Cammon mentioned this week; his crew was on a brief pause from Friday until Tuesday because of COVID-19.
He chuckled barely, maybe as a result of Lengthy Seashore State is at the moment in first place within the Huge West with a 6-0 convention report.
That is Cammon’s fourth season, and it’s truthful to say he’s issues a bit extra joyfully than he was after his first season – the 2017-18 marketing campaign – when Lengthy Seashore went 8-23 total and 6-10 in convention play.
From 2009-14, Cammon assisted Wynn earlier than leaving for assistant jobs at Cal and Colorado, returning to take the reins when Wynn left.
“Yearly, regardless of the gradual progress, there’s been lots of progress,” Cammon mentioned. “I really feel like we’re doing it in a method the place we’re constructing a tradition, not simply making an attempt to win video games. We’re making an attempt to construct a tradition the place we will maintain that, and compete 12 months in and 12 months out.
“I really feel like we’re stepping into that course. So to see the expansion is cool. I imply, I’m not shocked that we’re there, however I simply knew it was going to take a while and other people have been going to need to be affected person.”
Justina King is a giant cause why LBSU is undefeated in convention play and 7-1 total – the one loss was a 71-65 defeat at USC. The 5-foot-8 junior guard out of Canada is averaging a team-high 15.9 factors and is taking pictures 48% (12 for 25) from 3-point vary. However her contributions usually are not restricted to statistics.
King earlier this month earned Huge West Participant of the Week honors.
“We go as Justina goes,” Cammon mentioned. “She’s our glue. She’s our chief. The distinction with Justina’s management now in comparison with years previous – clearly, the expertise – however she’s a frontrunner daily, you understand what I imply?
“Earlier than, possibly she would are available and sort of undergo the motions and her power wasn’t all the time excessive regardless that she improved it from 12 months one to 12 months two. However this 12 months, daily she’s setting the tone.”
Cammon mentioned that management has additionally been evident off the court docket together with her teammates.
One other key participant who has made important contributions is sophomore Kristyna Jeskeova, a 6-2 guard out of the Czech Republic who’s main the crew with a 7.3 rebounding common. She has began all eight video games after averaging solely 7.3 minutes and 1.9 rebounds a season in the past.
“It’s enormous,” Cammon mentioned of her play. “Each good crew has that intangible child. And KJ, she does all of the grunt be just right for you. She does lots of stuff that lots of instances doesn’t present up within the stat sheet, regardless that her rebounds are displaying up on the stat sheet and clearly are enormous for us.
“However she performs with a motor, she performs with power.”
Lengthy Seashore was picked to complete sixth within the Huge West’s preseason media ballot and seventh within the coaches’ ballot. The crew’s six Huge West victories have come in opposition to groups picked to complete sixth or decrease in these polls, so Cammon is aware of his crew nonetheless has to show it belongs with the highest tier of the convention – which means UC Davis (1-0, 0-0) and UC Irvine (5-5, 2-0), which have been picked to complete first and second, respectively, in each polls.
“Finally, the proof’s within the pudding,” Cammon mentioned. “We’ve got to exit and we now have to show that we’re for actual.”
Junior ahead Naomi Hunt is LBSU’s second-leading scorer (13.1 ppg).
THIS AND THAT
Although the UC Irvine men’s basketball team leads the Huge West with a 2-0 report, it’s value noting that newcomer Cal State Bakersfield is 5-1. The Roadrunners are 9-4 total and have been in a position to play extra video games (13) than some other crew within the convention. UC Davis (2-2, 0-0) has solely performed 4 video games – none in convention – due to all of the coronavirus-related cancellations. One in all Bakersfield’s gamers – senior Taze Moore – on Monday was named Huge West Participant of the Week. He led the Roadrunners to a two-game sweep at Hawaii on Friday and Saturday, averaging a mixed 13 factors, 6.5 rebounds and a couple of.5 assists. … CSUN redshirt sophomore guard/ahead Brendan Harrick had 25 factors – tying Darius Brown II for team-high honors – in an 86-85 victory over host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. Harrick is the great-nephew of CSUN assistant coach Jim Harrick, the previous UCLA head coach who in 1995 led the Bruins to their report eleventh NCAA title. … The Lengthy Seashore State males’s crew was additionally paused from Friday till Tuesday due to COVID-19, and is again training.