Women's basketball team set to open season on Thursday

Women's basketball team set to open season on Thursday

Irvine Valley's women's basketball team begins its 2017-18 season on Thursday, taking on Citrus in the Pasadena City President's Roundball Classic at 2 p.m.

The Lasers are ranked No. 12 in the preseason California Community College Women's Basketball Coaches Association South Region Poll, which was released late last week.

IVC is coming off subpar year in 2016-17 where the squad went 11-17, but coach Julie Hanks is confident about this year's team responding.

Irvine Valley made the regional playoff finals in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

And the Lasers won the Orange Empire Conference in the 2014-15 campaign.

"You have to bounce back when you don't do well," Hanks said. "The coaches have to and the players have to. We expect to have success after a down year. We were in a lot of games last year and could have won a few more. I think this is going to be a good year for us."

Hanks likes the makeup of her roster.

"There is a lot more depth this year both in the frontcourt and backcourt," she said. "We have a few more options."

Irvine Valley returns three players from last year's team and gets two red-shirt players back in the mix.

Key among those players is sophomore forward Kasey Smit. The 6-0 forward helped Irvine Valley finish with a record of 23-8 overall and 9-3 in the Orange Empire Conference during the 2015-16 season before sitting out last year.

She was named second team all-conference after averaging 9.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game two seasons ago.

"Having Kasey back along with (forward) Jenna Rodriguez, who transferred to us and then sat out last year is going to be big," Hanks said. "And we also have Kiara (Warren) back. I like our front court."

Guards Elizabeth Garcia and Mary Dishoian and forward Kiara Warren return from last year's team.

Garcia averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 assists, Dishoian averaged 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds and Warren averaged 8.4 points and 7.3 rebounds a year ago. Warren led the team in rebounding.

And Hanks brought in several players that she expects to stand out for IVC.

They include freshman guards Cydnie Danan and Jessica Quirarte from Ayala High in Chino Hills and freshman guard Lexi Vail from JSerra.

"We just have more depth and I think that is going to be important for us," Hanks said. "The team is well-rounded. We are going to have a lot of players contributing this year. We are excited to get started."