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AOW: Care-free attitude has Lopez leading Bulldogs

January 30, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

Off the basketball court Calexico High School's Lizeth Lopez is as quiet and passive as a deer.

But once she laces up her sneakers and hits the hardwood, she can turn into a rabid wolverine, ripping the heart out of opponents on her way to a 15- or 20-point night.

Not bad considering she's one of the Bulldogs' youngest players at age 15.

In Calexico's 51-39 Imperial Valley League hammering of Southwest High on Jan. 23, Lopez, a sophomore, had 20 points, two rebounds, two steals and a block. She followed with a 10-point performance in a 48-31 victory over Central Union on Friday. She attributed the two league wins to strong preparation.

"Everybody on the team was working really hard for those games," said the 5-foot-5 inch Lopez. "It wasn't just me. It was more of a team effort. Scoring the points isn't important to me. All I care about is winning."

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Winning is all the Bulldogs have been doing as they are atop the Imperial Valley League with a 3-0 record.

While she credits the players around her, a big reason for Calexico's success is Lopez. She started the season on the junior varsity but was called up to the varsity by coach Jamie Chew in early December. Since then she has secured a spot in the starting lineup.

While she can turn around a game with her offense, there is no pressure on her to score. In Calexico's attack everyone is expected to contribute on offense, making Lopez something of a role player.

She said she has no problem with that but doesn't mind if she is called upon to put points on the board.

"Even though I'm a sophomore I don't feel any pressure on me at all," Lopez said.

Said Chew: "I think that's the reason she doesn't feel pressure, because she's a sophomore. I think the seniors feel it more than she does."

Because of her carefree attitude on the court, Lopez has adapted to varsity competition and improved her play as well as that of her teammates.

"A lot of her points have come off assists from our point guard (Christina Ramirez). That right there has really helped both," said Chew. "She's been very consistent, scoring-wise, and just makes things easier for everyone as a team."

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