Using character to crush competition

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Bryan Jarboe -- CBU’s Simone Holmes drives past Grand Canyon defense.

When the dust settles on March 17, the members of California Baptist University’s women’s basketball team hope to have a championship trophy in their hands.

Last year, the Lancers finished 27-8 in one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history.

“The team was good last year,” Point Guard Myriah Hicks said. “We want to continue that success this year and win the [Pacific West Conference].”

They have gotten off to a great start through the first three months of the season, cruising to a 16-3 record.

“The first couple of games were not too challenging, but it got tougher once we got into conference play,” Hicks said.

The 2011-2012 season is the Lancers’ first year in the PacWest, as the team experiences the switch to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“The PacWest is easier than the all-Golden State Athletic Conference in some ways,” Head Coach John Marcum said. “We are still getting used to the travel schedule and road trips, though.”

The PacWest has turned into a four-team race for first place with just over one month remaining in the season. Dixie State University, Grand Canyon University and the Academy of Art are CBU’s main competition.

“Our goal is to win a national championship,” Marcum said. “At the very least, we will know what it takes to compete at the top of the PacWest.”

This year’s team is achieving successes similar to last season. However, they are doing so with brand-new faces – 10 of the 11 players on the roster are in their first year at CBU.

The lone returning player is Marlee Rice, a guard in her second season at CBU.

“Marlee does all of the little things that don’t get in the stat line. She has the attitude we want to build our team around,” Marcum said.

Marcum attributes the team’s success to the team’s depth of character, the coaching staff and the administration.

“We have selfless group of girls. No one has the ‘disease of me,’” Marcum said. “We have recruited women with strong character who represent CBU well.”

These student-athletes have also represented CBU well in the classroom with a 3.1 cumulative GPA last semester.

“I am really proud of our teammates and all that we have accomplished,” Hicks said.

In order to get the players firing on all cylinders, Marcum relies on his coaching staff of Jeff Caha, TK Scott and Christopher Bates.

“Most of the credit should go to our coaching staff. They get the girls ready to play for each game,” Marcum said.

He also credits the administration for their willingness to allow him to recruit game-ready transfer students and older, more experienced players.

“CBU has a commitment to success,” Marcum said. “It says a lot about the school that we could go out and get 10 quality athletes.”

The team has five regular season games left on the schedule, including games against Grand Canyon University and Dixie State University.

“These next couple of games will be a litmus test for us,” Marcum said, “but this team can beat even more talented teams because of our intangibles.”

Their next game will take place in the Van Dyne Gym on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. against Dixie State University.

About Neil Morgan

Hi! I am the Managing Editor for the Banner. I love to write, especially about sports. I am getting married and graduating soon. I have worked on the Banner for four semesters. I also write for www.cbulancers.com. I love CBU. Thanks for reading a little tidbit about me.

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