Former Badgers having early season impact

The Badger women’s basketball program is having a typical start. Head coach Gary Blate plays difficult competition early and often. The Badgers have been an elite program ever since Blate took over the program in 2003/2004. Blate’s program has consistently produced tough, disciplined players. Many find their way to the next level. This year is no different. No less than four of his former players are making a huge impact on their respective collegiate programs.

Sydnee Fipps (Class of 2011) is having a good start to her senior year for the Aggies at UC Davis. On Dec. 13, Fipps scored a game-high 13 points in a 72-51 loss to Arizona State, and moved into fourth place all-time in Aggie scoring history.

Fipps has compiled her numbers against strong competition. Besides ASU, Fipps has played UCONN twice. UCONN is the greatest program in NCAA women’s basketball history. In 29 years Coach Geno Auriemma and the Husky program are 879-133 (.869) with nine NCAA titles and 15 Final Fours. Outside of John Wooden, no other men or women’s college basketball coach has done it better than Auriemma.

Janay Herring is making the most of her senior season at Fresno Pacific University. On Dec. 6, Herring scored a career-high 31 points against Azusa Pacific. Herring also added five assists. Herring, a redshirt senior, is a 2009 YHS graduate. Herring made an immediate impact for the Sunbirds, being second in scoring averaging 11.2 points per game in her freshman season. As a sophomore Herring led FPU in points with a 16.2 average per game and assists 5.4 earning her first Golden State Athletic Conference all-first team selection.

Herring was poised to have a monster junior season in the Pac West Conference but suffered a season ending injury in just her fourth game. The team finished conference play last season at 12-8. 2014-2015 looks to be Herring’s best. Herring is a bright spot on a team that is currently 1-6. Herring’s YHS teammate Sienna Gonzales played four year for the Sunbirds, graduating last spring with a psychology degree. She now works with foster children and parents.

Herring was named the conference player of the week in early December, after averaging 24.5 points, six assists, and four steals in two games. The team is at home 5:30 p.m. Saturday hosting Point Loma before playing three games in Hawaii between Jan, 1 and 8.

Sophomore center Dahlia Lopez (class of 2012) is playing her second season at Reedley Junior College. Lopez, a dual-sport athlete, is averaging 5.3 points and six rebounds per game for the 7-6 Pirates. She had a season high 11 points on Dec.7 against Cerritos. Lopez remains a key player for the Pirates playoff hopes in the Central Valley Conference. The team plays in the San Mateo Tournament over the holidays, returning home to host College of the Sequoias Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.. The team plays at 6 p.m. at Fresno City on Jan. 10.

Lopez will pursue her athletic talents to the next level as a volleyball player. The Reedley team made it to play-offs this past season and Lopez was named to the All conference team.

Sierra Dominici (Class of 2010) is a freshman guard for Fresno City College. Dominici joined a strong FCC program. The Rams have won seven consecutive conference championships including a title in 2013-2014. The Rams (7-3) have advanced to the state tournament five of the past seven years. In seven games this season, Dominici is averaging 7.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Dominici’s highest output (12) came against Merrit College on Dec.12.

The Rams will play in two tournaments over the holidays, before hosting Merced at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 and Lopez and company (Reedley) at 7 p.m. Jan. 10.