Moorpark Women’s Basketball’s looks to last returning starter to lead incoming players

Sophomore+Bree+Calhoun+drives+toward+the+hoop+during+the+Raiders%E2%80%99s+conference+final+against+Ventura+College+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+15.+The+home+game+ended+with+a+Moorpark+win%2C+69-54.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt

Sophomore Bree Calhoun drives toward the hoop during the Raiders’s conference final against Ventura College on Saturday, Feb. 15. The home game ended with a Moorpark win, 69-54. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Max Clark

Like every year for collegiate sports, teams lose a good chunk of their team to transfers or graduating athletes. This past year, Moorpark lost five of their sophomores moving on to the next level with three of the five receiving Division I scholarships.

Head Coach Kenny Plummer will rely on sophomore Jasmine Nichols to do the heavy lifting for the Raiders this season. She is Moorpark’s only returning starter.

Nichols is coming off of a tremendous freshman year, receiving WSC All-Conference Honors averaging 14.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 1.4 APG. She dominated the offensive paint for the Raiders last season, averaging just under four offensive rebounds per game that lead the team. The Oxnard High alumni led freshman in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks for Moorpark.

“This year we are very confident and hopeful that the only starter returning, Jasmine Nichols, will be able to step up and lead this new group,” Plummer stated, who is in his fifth year as the Moorpark women’s basketball head coach. Over the past two seasons, his team has gone 59-3.

This season is going to look very different than years past for the Moorpark women’s basketball team, but Plummer is ready for the challenge.

With COVID-19 and the stay at home orders, he explained the difficulties of recruitment for this year.

“Having the stay at home order in place during most of the recruiting period for us, we had to do a lot of the work virtually and over the phone,” Plummer stated. “In normal times, we would be able to attend all-star games, meet with players and their families in person, and have players meet us on campus so this year was definitely a challenge.”

Moorpark Head Coach Kenny Plummer breaks the huddle at the start of the first playoff game against Riverside City College on Saturday, Feb. 29, at Moorpark College. Moorpark moves to round two of the playoffs after beating Riverside City 96-65. Photo credit: Ryan Bough
Moorpark Head Coach Kenny Plummer breaks the huddle at the start of the first playoff game against Riverside City College on Saturday, Feb. 29, at Moorpark College. Moorpark moves to round two of the playoffs after beating Riverside City 96-65. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

The Raiders also recruited some new transfers along with incoming freshmen to compliment Nichols.

Sophomore Telyssa Samuel is transferring from Northern New Mexico College as a 6’2 Center. Ashley Orozco is transferring from Dawson Community College as a 5’5 guard. At Dawson, Orozco averaged 15.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 4.2 APG.

“We were very fortunate to also get transfers Ashley Orozco and Telyssa Samuel to provide impact and sophomore experience to this year’s team,” explained Plummer. “The majority of the team’s makeup will be made of tremendous freshman talent across the board which is also exciting to look forward to.”

When asked about who he is most excited to see this year, Plummer brought up Nichols but also some of the freshmen.

Lindsey Castillo, a freshman point guard coming from Westlake High School in her senior season averaged: 10.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.5 APG. Bree Diaz, a freshman from Saint Bonaventure in her senior season averaged: 8.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.3 APG.

Castillo and Diaz talked about why they choose to come to Moorpark College.

“I chose Moorpark because it’s close to home and it has a good basketball program. I’ve played against/played with some of the girls so it’s nice to learn things from them,” Castillo stated.

Diaz shares some of these ideas with Castillo on why she wanted to play at Moorpark.

Sophomore guard Jazzy Carrasco comes off a screen during their home game against Riverside City College on Saturday, Feb. 29. Carrasco reached a milestone of 1000 career points during the game. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich
Sophomore guard Jazzy Carrasco comes off a screen during their home game against Riverside City College on Saturday, Feb. 29. Carrasco reached a milestone of 1000 career points during the game. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

“I chose Moorpark College because a lot of people I once played basketball with or against played last year and said it was a great experience. The coaching staff is amazing and I will definitely fit in as a person and a basketball player,” Diaz stated.

For Diaz, her hopes for the season are to become a starter as a freshman and go far in the playoffs.

Castillo hopes to find her rhythm after not practicing with anyone in months. She also wants to find her role with the team and challenge herself to improve as a player.

When Castillo was asked about Plummer she had this to say, “Coach Plummer has been really welcoming and is constantly motivating us to be the best that we can be.”

With this being a very odd season and having no practices right now, the team has to adjust to a new way of bonding. Plummer said that the team will have to bond virtually and are going to have to hold themselves accountable to stay in shape.

“We know that every accomplishment will come from a team effort and will rely on how well we play together. Our program’s foundation is built on trust, toughness and togetherness. T.T.T for M.C.,” said Plummer.

A very strong message to send out to his team. Aspirations are still high for this team to compete as well as they have been for the past several years now.

There is no doubt that this season will be different than years prior but Moorpark is ready to face the challenges and continue their dominance. Nichols and the rest of the team are ready to step up and get this season started.