The College of the Redwoods women’s basketball team lost for the second straight day at the Sierra tournament on Friday after a quick turnaround from a Thursday night game.
The Corsairs fell 105-78 to a very good Fresno City team to open tournament play and then lost 58-43 to conference rivals Butte early Friday afternoon.
The players, however, got a welcome addition and a big boost this week with former Eureka Logger Makaila Napoleon joining the team.
Napoleon played for Oregon Tech right out of high school but transferred back to the North Coast this year and was a standout for the CR volleyball team this fall.
With the volleyball season now completed, Napoleon has opted to play basketball and had an immediate impact on a young roster despite the two losses.
“Obviously she’s talented and skilled, and she makes a difference right away,” head coach Jain Tuey said.
The Corsairs, who dropped to 4-3 with the two losses, started well against a top-class Fresno City team that has eight returning players from two seasons ago
The CR women matched their opponents’ intensity for the first half, but the Fresno depth and experience began to show in the third quarter.
“I felt like in our game against Fresno City we played very well against a very good team,” Tuey said. “We just didn’t have the energy and numbers to respond to their third-quarter push.”
Unfortunately the CR women were unable to carry any momentum into Friday’s game and struggled to find much rhythm against the Roadrunners.
“We just kind of had low energy,” Tuey said. “I don’t know if it was trying to recover from a tough game and quick turnaround, but we had low energy and struggled to get anything going offensively.”
Napoleon scored 18 points in her CR debut and added 16 more on Friday, while Ashley Quigley scored 18 against Fresno City.
Quigley, the Corsairs’ only returning player from the championship team of 2019/20, continued to be a bright spot despite the two losses and continues to carry a big workload.
“She plays 40 minutes of basketball every game,” Tuey said. “We have to have her out on the court at all times pretty much.”
The two losses can be down to growing pains, especially on a roster that has very limited practice time together because a number of key players have been playing volleyball.
“Definitely growing pains,” said Tuey, who added, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Corsairs will close out tournament play on Saturday at noon.