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Chabot basketball preview, Jan 30



By Phil Jensen

Special to Chabot athletics

HAYWARD – The word “fun” comes up frequently when Olivia Vezaldenos discusses her freshman season on coach Mark Anger’s powerful Chabot women’s basketball squad.

Clearly, the former East Union High-Manteca star is having a blast. The shooting guard is averaging 18.9 points game heading into Wednesday’s first-place showdown at City College of San Francisco in the Coast-North.

“I like the faster level of play and the intensity,” she said of college play. “A lot more strategic thinking, X’s and O’s, a lot of film: You have to adjust a lot. I am definitely having a lot of fun with it.”

Vezaldenos is shaking off the rust in a big way. She did not play last season for UC Irvine, her first year out of high school, and the time away made her extra hungry for game action.

“I did start to miss basketball a lot,” said Vezaldenos, who practiced with the U.C. Irvine team in the offseason and received encouragement about her game. “The main thing was that I wasn’t satisfied just doing school. I feel I should be as well-rounded (as high school).”

During a stellar high school career, Vezaldenos was the unanimous Valley Oak League Most Valuable Player in her senior season. The four-year varsity player averaged a league-high 20.4 points and 5.5 assists as a senior, helping the Lancers to a 27-2 overall record and 14-0 league mark.

Some colleges showed interest, but she decided to attend a school that was not offering her an athletic scholarship.

“I decided to go to UC Irvine because that was my dream school,” she said.

Vezaldenos said she put basketball on hold “because I didn’t want to sacrifice an education from a great school like UCI in order to play at a lower-level academic school.”

Chabot (18-4, 6-1) is excited to have her on board. The Gladiators are also revved up to have another crack at CCSF (19-3, 6-0), after falling at home to the Rams 73-64 on Jan. 5. CCCSF is ranked sixth in the CCSIA Women’s Basketball state poll. Chabot is No. 16.

“I could not be more excited,” said Vezaldenos of the matchup. “I think we definitely improved a lot since we saw them.”






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