With an abundance of young talent, the women’s basketball team is gearing up for their 2018–2019 season. Coming off a win against the University of St. Katherine and subsequent losses against Pacific University and Colorado College, the team hopes to remain competitive in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) this year, according to point guard Mallory North (first year). The squad is currently 2–2 for the season.
The young talent on the team includes Raveena Dhiman (first year) who scored 20 points in the win against St. Katherine. Dhiman said she initially never intended to play basketball in college.
“Once my senior-year high school season ended, it was weird not going to practices right after school and just playing the game that I have been playing for so long,” Dhiman said. “So, out of all the colleges I was looking to attend solely for academic purposes, Occidental was the only college I thought I could possibly play at while simultaneously receiving a great education.”
Her six three-pointer game was complemented by the effort of her teammates, with underclassmen North and Alyssa Ramlochan (sophomore) also scoring 14 points each.
North believes the team might be overlooked in the SCIAC largely due to its youth.
“I think we are underrated since we are so young, but that we have a good chance of doing well this year,” North said.
Last year, the team had a record of 5–11 in the SCIAC. Returners Tala Ismail (junior) and Ramlochan had an average of 15.4 and 10.4 points per game, respectively. Taylor Yoshida (sophomore) is an up-and-coming player for the team with an average of 12 points per game so far this season.
The team matched up against Pacific University Nov. 15, coming up short 59–50. Yoshida led the team with 13 points, followed by Ramlochan with 12 points and nine rebounds. After the game against St. Katherine, head coach Anahit Aladzhanyan ’07, who played basketball for the Tigers herself, also saw the win as a learning opportunity.
In the game against Pacific, Occidental’s defensive end kept the Boxers scoreless for nearly 6 minutes from the first to second quarter of the game.
Occidental fell to Colorado College Nov. 16 despite Ramlochan leading the Tigers with 14 points and a trio of three-pointers from North.
For the remainder of the season, the team is focused on working hard and improving as a team, according to Coach Aladzhanyan.
“[Our goals are] to continue building a positive program culture that is guided by our core values of integrity, growth mindset, selflessness and pride,” Aladzhanyan said. “We define success as continued improvement and teamwork, multiplied by positive team culture.”
North echoed the sentiment, with her primary goal being to continue to help the team do well in SCIAC. Similarly, Dhiman has her sights set on giving teams in the SCIAC good competition, and personally, making the most of her free throws and increasing the number of rebounds she gets per game.
Dhiman sees the young talent on the team as an opportunity to fill in gaps they had last year and compete in the competitive SCIAC conference. She attributes the Tigers’ early success to team harmony.
“I think our team is pretty unified for the most part, so that might’ve contributed to our early success,” Dhiman said. “But I also think we do a great job of sharing the ball on offense and communicating on defense.”
The Tigers next head up at Chapman University at 7:00 p.m. Nov. 28.