College of the Redwoods women’s basketball is off to a 2-1 in preseason play and, undoubtedly, the difference lies in its revamped roster. Redwoods’ biggest challenge a season ago was its lack of depth as head coach Jain Tuey had just five active players for the majority of the ladder half of the season, including the bulk of Golden Valley Conference play. Redwoods finished 2-8 in the GVC a season ago and 9-15 overall.
The ‘Woods will travel to Rocklin, Ca., on Friday to take part in the Sierra College Tournament in which they will face Foothill (0-4) in the first round, Friday at 7 p.m. This season Redwoods features three returning players including its second-highest scorer from a season ago, Bobbie Purify, and a fleet of new talent seven players deep.
In addition to Purify, Redwoods can count two other returns among its ranks; Taylor Murray, who averaged 8.5 ppg a season ago for Redwoods and Adriana Catana, who played for the ‘Woods back during the 2015-16 season.
“Our returners had to play a difficult style of basketball last season,” Tuey said. “Having a full team will allow them to get more comfortable and have more opportunities to find their game rather than having to scramble around trying to fill a whole team’s worth of roles.”
Murray showed her worth as a 3-point specialist during Redwoods’ most recent game, a 79-68 Hawks Classic Tournament win over Monterrey Peninsula College back on Nov. 10. The sophomore shot 5-8 from behind the arc and finished with 15 points.
Purify said she’s excited by the prospect of a having a full compliment of players around her this season, if for no other reason than some reasonable rest.
“Having a full roster will help the team because it’ll allow us to play with proper energy,” Purify said. “It’s just mentally relaxing to know that, if needed, a sub is right there. It’s mentally draining to go into games knowing you won’t have a break, but that won’t be an issue this season.”
Redwoods, even with veteran guidance from Purify and its other sophomore players, will depend on a host of true freshman if it is to put together a compelling season this winter. Headlining Redwoods’ freshman class is shooting guard Bressia Northern, a former Arcata High standout who was a part of four straight Big 5 Conference championship winning teams and averaged 12.4 ppg in her senior season a year ago, during which she lead the Tigers with 50 3-pointers made.
“Bree is a quick player who’s going to shoot a lot for us,” Tuey said. “She played point in high school but we’ll be able to get her on the wing and in space here.”
Breesia Northern is the younger sister of Sophie Northern, Redwoods’ leading scorer (20.0 ppg) from a season ago.
In total six of Redwoods’ seven new recruits hail from the Humboldt-Del Norte region. Alondra Ledezma (Del Norte), Abiona Katri (St. Bernard’s), Darienne Kartes (Fortuna), Jayden Johnson (St. Bernard’s) and Mikaela Arnold (Six Rivers) all played high school basketball locally. 5-foot-9 Ashlynn Maddeaux, the lone non-local player on Redwoods’ 2018-19 roster, hails from Brett Hart High School in Murphys, Ca.
“Jayden and Abiona are both quality players from St. Bernard’s, Jayden has prove to be able to hit big shots and Abiona is very good in the post,” Tuey said. “Darienne can shoot as well, especially from the perimeter. Overall, this group has more all around players than I’ve had in the past, our bigs can shoot and pass well and that will allow this team to spread the floor and do a lot more things offensively than we could last season.”