By Ray Hamill — The College of the Redwoods women look like they’re headed back to the playoffs for a second straight season, with the bracket set to be announced on Sunday.
The Corsairs, who are 18-9 overall, won seven of their final eight games of the regular season to place second in the Golden Valley Conference, and head coach Jain Tuey believes her team will probably be seeded somewhere between Nos. 14 and 18 for the NorCal tournament.
The top 14 automatically make the 16-team bracket, with Nos. 15-18 featuring in a pair of play-in games on Tuesday, which could result in a home game at CR.
Four of the Redwoods players also received all-conference honors this week, including standout sophomores Ashley Quigley and Makaila Napoleon, each of whom were named to the all-conference team.
Quigley, who was an all-state third-team selection as a freshman two years ago, is also an all-state nominee this year, with the prestigious teams set to be announced on Sunday.
One of just two sophomores on this year’s roster, Quigley has been a force for the Corsairs for the past two seasons.
This winter, she finished second in the GVC with 19.8 points a game and led the conference in 3-point shooting percentage with an impressive 44.4 percent.
But it was another attribute of her game that really impressed Tuey.
“She really develop into a great leader this year,” the coach said, adding that Quigley is “just a true basketball player and mind.”
It’s no surprise that Quigley is receiving some interest from four-year programs, but she is still weighing her options.
Napoleon, meanwhile, joined the basketball team just before the season after transferring down from Oregon Tech and enjoying an outstanding fall on the volleyball court.
“I hadn’t planned on having her,” said Tuey, who admitted she was hesitant to add a player that late. “But once I told her what I expected out of her, she jumped right in.”
Napoleon missed much of the early season because of injury, but was practicing with the team every day and her presence had a positive impact on the development of this year’s roster.
“Her experience definitely showed, and her maturity after playing at Oregon Tech,” Tuey said. “She was able to show some of the girls what it takes to succeed at this level.
“It was a pleasure getting to coach her as well.”
Two other players also received all-conference recognition this week, with Gracie Betts getting an honorable mention and Rachel Valdez named to the all-freshman team.
Valdez had an immediate impact on this year’s team and like Quigley was a big threat from 3-point range, hitting on 32.3 percent of her attempts, which was third best in conference.
Betts likewise had an immediate impact at guard and she was missed down the stretch of the season after she injured her hand and had to sit out the last two games.
“The last two games (without Betts) I feel we had to grind it out and weren’t playing as confident,” Tuey said. “Not having her, it showed in the last two games.”
Betts, unfortunately, is not expected back for the playoffs.