The Rio Hondo College women's basketball team recently finished preseason play with a record of 15-5. It marked the program's best start since the 2008-2009 season when it finished preseason play at 16-2. Current head coach Rene Herrera served as an assistant coach during that season and likes to compare both teams. South Coast Conference North Division play begins this week and the Lady Roadrunners know every game is going to be brutal, nothing is going to be given. How brutal? All four opposing teams in the SCC North Division are currently ranked among the state's top 20 and have no worse than a 13-7 overall record. Although this is not the time to celebrate, the Lady Roadrunner can reflect and be proud of what they have accomplished far. A few years ago, the Lady Roadrunners were having difficulty maintaining a winning record. Herrera and his staff have focused on local talent and brought in a group of players that have turned this program around to put Rio Hondo College back of map as a team that can compete with the best.
Coach Herrera has stated, "We are grateful for these girls trusting us with coming to Rio Hondo and believing in our system. We have a bunch of talent on this team, players that had great success at the high school level. When you look at our team, many of our players do not necessarily pass the eye test as ball players. Only those who have followed them closely can see that their basketball resume is impressive and that they have put in the work that is deserving of more recognition than what they are getting.
Sophomores Amanda Lee (League MVP, 1st Team ALL-CIF, Honorable mention ALL-State), Amy Navarro (League MVP, 1st Team ALL-CIF, and Whittier Daily News Player of the year 2017), and Kailey Gutierrez (League MVP, and 2nd Team ALL-CIF). This year, the Roadrunners added a few talented freshmen Donteylor Maxwell (League MVP, 1st Team ALL-CIF, 1st Team ALL-State, and Whittier Daily News Player of the year 2019), Jennyfer Morales (League MVP, and 2nd Team ALL-CIF), and Sally Smith (1st Team All-CIF).
Coach Herrera believes it is not enough to have talent to compete at a high level. Players have to want more and pay more attention to detail to separate themselves from other talented teams. The players we have all come from great high school programs but have been overlooked for some strange reason. I am happy they are having early success, so they can get the exposure they deserve. Although we do not know what the outcome will be at the end of the season, Herrera is confident that when this team brings their "A" game, they can play with the best teams in the state.
Rio Hondo opens South Coast Conference North Division play on Wednesday (Jan. 22) when it hosts No. 7 state-ranked Mt. San Antonio College (15-5) at 5 p.m.