California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Regals Reflect On Successful Season

    The 2017-2018 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball season has come to a close, but for the California Lutheran University Regals basketball team, the journey has just begun. In the wake of six senior players graduating in 2017, the Regals came into this season with five freshmen players and two transfer students. Head Coach Lindsay Samaniego said she was uncertain about what to expect from this season with such a young group.

    “It’s a challenge, especially when you have a brand new team with so many new players to be able to mesh together and to find a way to be successful. I thought that we did a good job of staying together and knowing what we needed to do to win games,” Samaniego said.

    Senior forward Nayiri Aslanian is a transfer student from Texas A&M International University. This was her first and only season playing for the Regals. Aslanian said that being the underdogs in SCIAC was part of the team’s motivation.

    “I take any kind of doubt as fuel to my fire,” Aslanian said.

    The Regals finished third in conference out of nine other Southern California teams. They also claimed the number three seed in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament after winning 74-67 in overtime against the University of Redlands. In their final game of the season, they lost to Chapman University 75-52 in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Semifinal.

    Senior guard Kiana Gray was named First Team All-SCIAC with an average of 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. As the senior captain, she helped lead the team to their 10-6 conference record.

    Junior forward Kayla Watterson is a transfer student from San Francisco State University. Junior captain Grace Derksen said that Watterson brought a lot of energy to the court and filled the role of a post player this year. Watterson ended the season with an average of 8.2 points and 10 rebounds per game.

    Aslanian said that the team struggled with communication and chemistry in the beginning of the season. In January, they lost to both Whittier College and Pomona-Pitzer College, two teams they have beat in past years. She said that though the losses hurt, they made them a better team.

    “One of my favorite quotes is ‘It’s not about how hard you hit but about how hard you get hit and you keep moving forward’ and we did just that,”Aslanian said. “We kept moving forward regardless of what hit us…The outcome was a stronger team and that’s what’s gonna help them for next year and the years to come.”

    Next season, the Regals will have 11 returning players. Derksen is optimistic about the Regals’ upcoming season and her final season.

    “I hope that we’re able to come out stronger and better and just more composed because we’re going to be more experienced,” Derksen said. “I think we have a huge chance next year to come out and win SCIAC and place number one.”

    Derksen said her biggest goals for next season are for the team to make to the National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball tournament and continue having fun.

    Aslanian said that she is proud of her team for “becoming stronger and better people after this season” and for “never giving up.” She said she wishes she had another year with the Regals, but she is thankful she was able to play in this last season.

    “I’m excited to see the damage that they’re going to do because they’re so young and they are so talented…they have so much potential for being the best,” Aslanian said.

    Brooke Stanley