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Bellevue College women have found chemistry by Joel Willits (Bellevue Reporter)

By JOEL WILLITS Bellevue Reporter Sports Writer Feb 07 2010, 3:53 PM UPDATED

As the Bulldog women gear up for round two of North Division play, coach Brent Hermanson can be happy of one thing: his players have bought in.

"That's what stands out most about these girls; they've all decided that the team's goals are more important than their own," Hermanson said, minutes before the Bulldogs took the floor for a mid-week practice. "When you get that kind of buy-in, it makes it much easier as a coach to have success.

And success is one thing the team is finding with its play - sitting with an 13-6 mark and a 8-1 record in league play, the Bulldogs are tied for first in the North Division.

They're doing it with depth - only one player, sophomore Tiffany Shen, has started every game - but the team is getting contributions everywhere.

"I think we're probably deeper than any other team in our division," Hermanson said. "We've got girls on our bench that could start for the other teams."

The contributions start with leading scorer Alisha Love, a 5-foot-6 sophomore from Chelan averaging over 11 points per game for the Bulldogs. Love, a captain, also leads the team in assists.

"Alisha was great for us last year," Hermanson said. "She's a hard-nosed, hard-working kid...she's determined, she wants to get better and she leads by example."

Another reason for Bellevue's success is its versatility, Hermanson said. Bellevue has four tall post players, led by 6-foot-2 Liberty graduate Kayla Haines and freshman Amy Rochowiak, that can play inside and outside - a fact that has opponents struggling to defend.

"All of them can shoot the three and all of them can play inside with their backs to the basket," Hermanson said.

"We all contribute every game," Haines added.

The Bulldogs are also getting quality minutes out of a new player in Maddie Miller, who attended Chelan with Love. Miller, a sophomore, didn't play basketball last season, so the 6-foot post still has four years of eligibility remaining. She's scoring over eight points per game and is one of the reasons why the Bulldogs are getting nearly 30 points per game off of their bench.

Barring a monumental collapse, the Bulldogs should make the NWAACC tournament - it's just a question of in what seed.

The players know with this team, this kind of chemistry is rare. They know they need to take advantage of it.

"You only have a small window of opportunity," Love said. "We've just found our rhythm. Now we just have to stay focused on our games."

Bellevue Reporter Sports Writer Joel Willits can be reached at jwillits@bellevuereporter.com or 425-453-5045.


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