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Point guard leading team in impressive wins


December 18, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

Watch the Imperial Valley College women's basketball team and there really isn't much dispute that point guard LaToya Jackson is the heart, soul and brains of the team.

At 5-foot-4, the 19-year-old Miami native doesn't command much attention from a physical standpoint. But if the opposing team underestimates her she'll make it pay.

Last week she led the Arabs to two impressive victories.

Wednesday she scored 25 points, ripped seven steals and dished five assists in IVC's 102-29 record-breaking win over Los Angeles Harbor College. The 102 points was the most ever by an Arabs' women's team.


Jackson followed that with 18 points, nine steals, five assists and two rebounds as IVC thumped Cerro Coso 83-50 Friday. The Arabs had played at Cerro Coso in Ridgecrest on Dec. 2 and won 78-71.

"We had something to prove against them this last game. We played pretty bad up there and we wanted to prove that really wasn't us. We wanted to prove that first game was just a fluke," said Jackson, a sophomore. "We knew what they were capable of and we were just better prepared the second time around."

As happy as Jackson and her teammates were with their victory over Cerro Coso, that joy wasn't close to what they felt after Wednesday's game.

"We had tried to get 100 points last year and we tried to get it this year. It seems like we kept coming close, but we just couldn't get it," Jackson said. "But then against Harbor, everything was just clicking. We didn't expect to get 100, but everything was working and we got it. To me that's icing on the cake because we've been trying to score 100 all year.

"I think being able to do that and play like we did was a real confidence booster for us. We know that if everything's clicking with us we're capable of doing it again," said Jackson.

If the Arabs, 10-4 on the season, are to reach the century mark in a game again, they will need more strong performances from Jackson.

IVC coach Jill Tucker knows Jackson is a big reason for the team's success.

"She's like a quarterback out there for us. She's a more experienced player and in tight situations doesn't fold under pressure," said Tucker. "LaToya can always keep everyone pumped up and can keep them in line. When she's on the floor, it's like a different level of game.

"Last year we didn't really think of her as much of an offensive player. We just used her mainly for her defense. But this year we're looking to her a lot to score. So from last year to now, she has really become a better all-around player."

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