Last season, Kristine Jensen gave Coach Lydia Strong an inside presence.
However, now the 6-foot-2 center from Denmark plays for Concordia University College in Irvine, where she is averaging 18 points per game and shooting 54 percent.
“She’s hard to replace,” said Strong.
The team Strong has now is promising, however.
“We could be good,” said the coach.
The problem is inexperience as most squad members are freshmen. The inexperience was evident in a 61-45 homecourt loss to LA Southwest Dec. 7, but four early season wins have brought optimism.
There’s another talented center in 6’-2” Jasmine English, a freshman from Palisades High. She had only 11 points against Southwest but 32 in the previous game.
Coach Strong lists 5’-6” freshman guard Quiana Fenty from Pacific Hills High and 5’-9” freshman forward Ashleigh Osborne from Lynwood High as other key players.
Strong came to SMC three years ago from Northern California.
“I like it here. I have no complaints,’’ she said. “It’s a good recruiting area.”
She would have been happier, though, if the team hadn’t fallen behind Southwest, 25-12 and been forced to scramble after that. Facing a 31-17 halftime deficit SMC then went with a smaller lineup and tried to cause havoc with a pressing defense. The tactic worked at times but the deficit was too much to make up.
The SMC women will compete in tournaments the rest of the month. The next home game is January 4 at 5:30 p.m. against West Los Angeles in the opener of a doubleheader also featuring the school’s mens’ teams.