Expectations were high at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season for Cassidy Sanders-Curry (senior, Communication Studies) and the entire California State University, (Stan State), Women's basketball team after suffering an early exit from the previous season’s playoffs.
Sanders-Curry is the starting forward for the Warriors who is averaging 13 points per contest-good for second on the team. The Warrior’s biggest and toughest opponent during their current three game skid has been themselves.
"[We’re] just not playing up to our potential…having mental lapses," Sanders-Curry said.
Making a team worth more than the sum of its parts is no easy task. Departures of players and adding fresh faces each year keeps consistency and chemistry at arm’s length at times during a season without much room for failure.
The expectations for this promising season have been several years in the making. Not long ago, the Warriors basketball program was a “disaster” proceeding the hiring of current coach, Waymon Strickland, and following the departure of several key players to graduation; in Sander’s-Curry’s sophomore year.
The expectations back then were simply “okay, lets not get embarrassed.”
Fast-forward to today, this team has shown they are among the league’s most talented and resilient. The team remains confident going into the final weeks of the regular season calendar, despite a recent losing streak.
Talent is requisite to success, but without confidence that same talent that brought success, frustration can quickly set in. But this season, the Warriors are determined to be different.
In previous seasons, losing streaks would have shaken resolve, welcomed in doubts and would manifest themselves on the court further extending the skid. This year the women responded to their most recent losing streak by demonstrating poise and focus through taking care of business on the road, riding the ship and coming out stronger than before.
Sanders-Curry attributes much of her success to making shots and “confidence that's been built up over the past few seasons.” The team’s confidence is brewing, especially after snapping a three-game losing streak and sweeping the weekend slot of games against San Francisco State (64-57) and Sonoma State (52-46).
The Warriors are building up momentum at just the right time, combining execution of fundamentals and teamwork. Their biggest test and the culmination of the season inches closer every day: The CCAA Championship.
In spite of internal and external pressures to execute and succeed, the team remains focused. Battle tested, experienced and confident, the Warriors are primed for a deep playoff run. To them, anything less would be a disappointment and a poor statement of a talented team.
The team faces off against California State University, San Marcos, Thursday, Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. on Stan State territory.