Girls’ basketball optimistic due to skill of returning players

November 18, 2019 — by Anna Novoselov and Harshini Velchamy

Head coach: Danny Wallace

2018-2019 season record: 15-12

2018-2019 season recap: Although injuries forced many players to sit out throughout the season, the team advanced to CCS Division III semifinals

Key Matchups: Palo Alto High School, Los Gatos High School and Lynbrook High School
Star players: junior point guard Jane Loo, senior guard Anika Prasad

Key Losses (graduated athletes): posts Rachel Bakke, Kirsten Kruka and Kitty Huang and guard Hanna Zahabi

League: De Anza (upper)

Prognosis: 

Last season, the team struggled with numerous injuries, including to point guard Jane Loo and guard Anika Prasad, but the players remained determined and made it to CCS semifinals. 

“We learned to work through it, which made us even stronger and close-knit as a team,” senior guard Ranna Zahabi said.

Since the team lost four key players to graduation last year, younger players, including Loo and Prasad, will have to lead the team forward on their previous years’ momentum. Both provide a strong defense and aggressive offense for the team.

Zahabi hopes that the girls will be able to build a strong bond together and learn to trust each other. They began practicing over the summer and are already playing together cohesively. 

To take advantage of the players’ strengths — such as speed and quick ball movements — head coach Danny Wallace is introducing a new offense strategy, which involves a rapid transition and quick ball movements.

The team will frequently scrimmage during practices to get used to the new drill while still doing drills to improve their shooting, passing and confidence. 

Zahabi thinks the team can compete against almost any team as long as they remain dedicated and focused.

“I’m hopeful because I know we’re going to improve a lot over the course of the season and make the most of it,” Zahabi said

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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