Senior Tamra Owens had 14 points and eleven rebounds by halftime as the Chaparral Pumas (14-2) raced to a 30-9 lead over the Yucaipa Thunderbirds (5-6). Owens ended the night with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Her junior teammate, Kali Jones, had fifteen points and seven rebounds. “I love having Kali on my team,” said Owens, “I am not as successful without her. We’re best friends and our chemistry is on point this year.” Megan Wesel added twelve points.
The Pumas’ half court zone defense forced numerous turnovers and their superior front court size gave them a decided advantage on the boards on both sides of the floor. “This was our first home game in a long time,” said Owens, “We were hoping to do well on our own court. They are a shooting team and we knew we needed to pressure them on the perimeter.”
“We’re not too worried about their inside game,” said Pumas’ Head Coach Kelsie Woodward, “They have a couple of shooters who can get hot.” Yucaipa sophomore guard Courtney Coleman hit six threes in back-to-back games last year. She and her team were cold against the Puma defense in both their meetings this year. The Pumas beat the Thunderbirds 51-25 in the Poly Tournament on December 27th. Jones had 21 points and 15 rebounds in that game.
“This was a good game for us as we enter league next week,” said Woodward, “Everyone played and they played well.”
“Our biggest challenge in league will probably be Great Oak,” said Owens, “they have as much height as we do. But we’re not afraid of anyone. If we play the way we can, we’ll win league this year.” Great Oak is 12-1; last year’s Southwestern League Champion, Vista Murrieta, is 11-4. The Pumas open league play on January 14 hosting Murrieta Mesa (10-6).