Stepping forward with a win for Olympian women’s basketball


Hana Marrone

Kayla Sabri (Center) drives the ball down the court.

Hana Marrone, Features Editor

Mesa women’s basketball team won 54-32 against Fullerton College in their first game of the 2022-2023 season on Nov. 3. Tip off was at 5 p.m. and the starting lineup was Emma Fitzgerald as point guard, Keila Teruya as guard, Niki Madgedi as guard, Gwen Morris-Lundstrom as guard and Alex Purnell as post. 


Both teams were clad in navy blue warm-up gear while “Blessings” by Big Sean played on the speakers. Tip-off was eight minutes away, with the stands filling up with players and families getting pumped up for the first game of the season. A mash of Mesa and Fullerton supporters created an amazing energy of community and competition. 

Everyone was asked to stand for the National Anthem and each team stood with their arms linked, creating a chilling display of unity. Once the last part of the melody rang out, the silence was broken with a fierce cheer coming from the Olympians. Both teams assembled on the court, with Purnell winning the tip-off for Mesa. 


From the start of the game, Mesa had strong passing combinations to get past the opposing team’s defense. Within minutes of the first quarter Mesa was given a free throw which earned them the first point of the game. In the following moments, Mesa’s Keila Teruya was able to slow down the speed of the game in order for her teammates to set up on offense. In a sport that moves so quickly, Teruya played a key part in refocusing the tempo of this match. Teruya has scored 3.5 points per game which contributes to the team’s 48 points per game.  


Cherryl Dorton, who plays point guard, was excellent on defense. When the Fullerton College point guard moved the ball up the court Dorton kept pressure on the player, influencing her to make a move so that the rest of the defense could close down and win the ball. So far this season, Mesa has 14.5 steals per game and 7.5 blocks per game. 


The first two quarters were dominated by Mesa and then half time started. Mesa went into the locker room, up 32-15.

When the teams returned on the court, Mesa seemed to slow down a bit with Fullerton College keeping them in their half. Fullerton’s offense kept up the intensity but didn’t make too many baskets from their efforts. 


Mesa’s team consists of players from high schools all over San Diego county. Kaylee Goff, a San Diego native, said “A lot of us actually do know each other like we’ve played against each other whether that was in AAU or high school but overall our chemistry is really really great like on and off the court.”


Lindsay Samaniego, Mesa’s women’s basketball coach, reaffirmed that by stating, “For us it’s not really something we can teach. We just have to recruit good people who are good teammates and we got really fortunate with this group.”


The Olympians will play Santa Monica here at Mesa on Nov. 16. Then, they will travel up to Cypress on Nov. 22.