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Rose in bloom

Guard’s all-around improvement leads Lancers to 3rd title, deep playoff run

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Rose in bloom

Bulletin file photo East Union star Rachel McDaniel, the Bulletin's 2007-08 All-Area Player of the Year, reels in the loose ball in front of Sierra center Heather Scharmann on Feb. 13.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED March 16, 2009 3:41 a.m.
East Union had just three losses out of 30 games, earning its third straight Valley Oak League title and first third-round appearance in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in 15 years.

And senior guard Ashley Rose became the third different Lancer to be voted the VOL’s Most Valuable Player.

All of it was because she worked on becoming a well-rounded player in the off-season, dispelling the perception that she is a 3-point specialist.

“Going into the season, people knew me as Ashley Rose, the 3-point shooter,” said Rose, the Bulletin’s 2008-09 All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year. “During the summer I worked really hard and played on a traveling team. My travel-ball coach would only let us play if we played defense — and played defense well.

“That’s basically what I worked on all season, was my defense and my hustle. Knowing that this was my last year in high school, I wanted to show everyone what I can truly do on the floor, not just shoot.”

But shoot she still did.

Rose swished, rattled and rolled in a new-school record 81 3-pointers in 26 non-league and regular-season games. In that same stretch she averaged 18.5 points per game to move into the No. 7 spot in East Union’s all-time career scoring list, doing so in just two varsity seasons.

Danelle Liles-Bishop is the Lancers’ scoring queen, achieving so in four years. She was a part of the last East Union team that got as far as the section semifinals in 1995.

Liles-Bishop is the head women’s basketball coach at Cal Baptist University, where Rose’s partner in crime, Rachel McDaniel, is headed on an athletic scholarship.

McDaniel is a three-year varsity player who is sixth on EU’s all-time scoring list. She was the VOL MVP and All-Area Player of the Year in 2008, following former teammate and current Stanislaus State player Christin Gowan in earning both honors.

While Rose and McDaniel certainly have their place in EU history as individuals, they may go down as one of the school’s greatest backcourt tandems.

McDaniel always had the uncanny ability to get to the basket off the dribble at will, along the athleticism to wreak havoc on the defensive end. Rose was the perfect complement with her shooting stroke, but both were interchangeable guards that could do a little bit of everything.

Rose also produced 4.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game to go with her area-leading scoring total.

“Rachel is an amazing player,” Rose said. “On the court, I wouldn’t trade her for the world. The things we do work so well together.”

Rose came into her own at the four-day Tom Hawkins/Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament. It was there that East Union, after outclassing lesser teams en route to 11 consecutive victories, earned its first signature win of the season.

East Union edged tournament favorite Napa 54-48 in the championship game. Rose had 21 points and six steals and averaged 17.3 points per game to earn the MVP trophy.

Rose may have assured herself the league MVP honor during the Lancers’ regular-season finale at rival Manteca’s Winter Gym, where she scored a career-high 34 points to lead a 70-44 win that clinched East Union the outright title.

“Things like MVP, stuff like that, to me they’re just trophies,” she said. “Being able to be a part of that championship is more important to me. Getting MVP is more like the cherry on top.”

It was an amazing run for all Lancers involved, from winning all 13 of their preseason games and first 16 overall, to their season-ending loss against nationally-regarded St. Mary’s of Stockton. Getting to that St. Mary’s game was, despite the forgettable 90-35 score, a “dream come true” for Rose, who transferred from St. Mary’s midway through her sophomore year.

And it’s a dream Rose wants to continue at the next level.

“My basketball days are definitely not over,” said Rose, who is still waiting for “the right offer” from interested universities.

“I still want to play, regardless. If I have to go to a (junior college), I’ll go to a JC and try to transfer from there. I’m trying to get as much basketball in before I start getting into the job life.”

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