The Whatcom Community College women's basketball season might not have had the smoothest start, but that doesn't mean the team is without big ambitions.
After a couple players left before the season started, Whatcom is left with seven players on the roster right now, not including one player who is unavailable due to injury.
Guard Erika Locker doesn't seem to mind, though.
"It's not as bad as it sounds playing with only seven players," Locker said in a phone interview. "It's a lot of playing time, which is a plus, but you have to be really smart and can't get into foul trouble."
Locker said another positive to playing with a smaller squad is the players really know each other's playing style. She said the team is really close and has a lot of chemistry.
"We might be a smaller team, but we're not one to take lightly," Locker said. "Everyone works hard and really wants to play.
But the team recognizes having only seven players isn't always a positive.
"Other teams will have an advantage being able to play different players in different roles," Locker said. "We can't really switch out, and we can't sit and watch and figure out what's going wrong. We have to do that out on the court."
Locker was selected as a second team all-conference player last year and hopes to improve on her success this season.
She was named a captain for the second time in a row and said she tries to lead the team with her work ethic.
Whatcom coach Sara Bergner said she expects Locker, alongside Cambie Edwards, to continue last year's success and thinks team chemistry is WCC's biggest weapon.
"They have played together all summer and preseason and really know each other well," Bergner said in a phone interview. "We have a lot of weapons in each position - good shooters outside, players that are a big presence inside and some good ball handlers."
Bergner said Whatcom is placing an emphasis on defense. They know they can score the ball easily, so they have made defense a priority in practice every day.
She said there are some very good teams in Whatcom's league but, if they are able to defend them well, they can succeed.
"Coach has always said as long as we play defense and rebound, we will play," Locker said. "I think once we have defense down our offense will come easily."
Both Bernger and Locker are excited to see what the team can do this year.
They both think Whatcom has a real chance to advance to the post season if players are willing to work hard.
"They are putting in the work and time this preseason," Bergner said. "Hopefully the blood, sweat and tears will amount to good things this season."
Reach Kyle Elliott at email@example.com or call 360-715-2271.
2012-13 WCC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Date Opponent Time
Nov. 24 at Green River 4 p.m.
Dec. 8 Highline 2 p.m.
Dec. 9 Quest 4 p.m.
Dec. 28 at Lady Devil Holiday Tournament 3 p.m.
Dec. 29 at Lady Devil Holiday Tournament TBD
Dec. 30 at Lady Devil Holiday Tournament TBD
Jan. 5 at Peninsula* 5 p.m.
Jan. 9 Skagit Valley* 5 p.m.
Jan. 12 at Edmonds* 5 p.m.
Jan. 16 Olympic* 5 p.m.
Jan. 19 Bellevue* 4 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Everett* 5 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Shoreline* 2 p.m.
Feb. 2 Peninsula* 4 p.m.
Feb. 6 at Skagit Valley* 5 p.m.
Feb. 9 Edmonds* 4 p.m.
Feb. 13 Olympic* 5 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Bellevue* 2 p.m.
Feb. 20 Everett* 5 p.m.
Feb. 23 Shoreline* 4 p.m.
2012-13 WCC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ROSTER
No. Player Pos. Hgt. Yr. Hometown
10 Amanda Tapia G 5-5 So. Lynden
11 Jaydee Schmidt F 5-10 Fr. Deming
12 Nathalie Gruber F 6-1 Fr. Ellensburg
22 Erika Locker G 5-9 So. Ferndale
23 Cambie Edwards F 6-0 So. Burlington
24 Margaret Redelinghuis F 5-10 So. Ferndale
33 Leah Korthius G 5-6 So. Lynden
34 Bree Park G 5-5 So. Bellingham