Glendale Community College women's basketball still looking for foundation

Having coached at the junior college level for a decade, Carrie Miller understands the possibility that players might be tempted to head through the revolving door.

The fourth-year Glendale Community College women’s basketball coach has seen former players move on to the four-year level, while others opted to no longer compete for various reasons.

Miller would like nothing more than to stabilize Glendale by building a strong foundation and see her players complete their two-year stints while roaming the court with the Vaqueros.

“It seems like it happens a lot,” said Miller, who will have just two returners when the Vaqueros tip off their season at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with a nonconference road game against Cypress. “It’s a tough situation most times, but we are looking at it being good for us.

“We like the new players we have brought in and they want to learn different things. We are excited about the people we have. We will be young and hit some bumps, but it will be nice to be able to work with a young group. They help push one another to get better.”

The Vaqueros finished 6-22, 2-10 in the Western State Conference’s South Division to tie for last place last season. Glendale last appeared in the postseason in 2003.

Glendale will carry 13 players and look to improve on its win total from last season with returners Gabriela Beltran and Nicole Pappelis leading the charge. Beltran will look to provide her share of offense and versatility playing guard and forward. Pappelis will likely provide depth at guard coming off the bench.

“Gabriela will be huge for us in a lot of different aspects,” Miller said. “She knows how to read the court well and make three-pointers.

“Nicole has that great attitude that a lot of freshmen can see. She can come off the bench and create a spark.”

The guards will be Marissa Deciga (Glendale High), Mary Karapetyan, Selin Gomez, Llusion Jara, Susie Petrosyan, Elsie Mejia, Brenda Balbuena and Ana Tongs.

Up front, Glendale will feature a cast that includes Allison Zalin (Hoover), Samantha Pyros, Deciga and Jessica Sanchez.

“I think we’ll have a bit more size than we had in the past couple of years,” said Miller, who added that Zalin will miss the first part of the season while recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. “We aren’t huge, but we should be pretty quick.

“You always go into a season with high hopes. This can be a breakout season. We think we can do some good things.”

The Vaqueros will take part in five tournaments through Dec. 22. They will host one tournament, in addition to competing in tournaments from Visalia to San Diego.

The eight-team Vaquero Shootout will run Nov. 22-24 and will include Antelope Valley, West L.A., Fullerton, Ventura, Irvine Valley, Chaffey and Pasadena colleges. The tournament's championship contest will start at 4 p.m. Nov. 24.

“We will look to have a good showing at our tournament,” Miller said. “November and especially December gets you ready for conference and hopefully will give us some confidence.”

Glendale will begin conference action at 5 p.m. Jan. 8 on the road against West L.A.. Its conference home opener will take place at 3 p.m. Jan. 11 against Citrus.

The Vaqueros will conclude the regular season portion of their schedule at 3 p.m. Feb. 22 against host L.A. Valley.

Miller said the division will likely remain among the best in the state.

“It’s easily one of the toughest conferences,” Miller said. “There are so many good teams and it might be anybody’s to take.”

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