STOCKTON — With no true post players on his team, Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer has challenged the two tallest to be more of a presence in the paint.
Elisabeth Alexander and Victoria Gulley answered the call in a big way Tuesday, as they each scored 16 points in a 71-51 win over visiting Sonora.
“For the first time we actually controlled the paint,” Bauer said. “For us to go the distance those two have to be difference makers.”
Alexander recorded her first triple-double, accumulating 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. Her 3-pointer from the right wing sealed the career achievement with 2:51 remaining while capping a 16-6 run that stretched their lead to 64-41.
More of a wing, the 5-foot-10 Alexander towered over Sonora’s shorter players. She tallied five of her blocks in the second quarter alone and totaled seven for the first half.
“Bauer has been telling us that we need to play bigger and not float out to the wings because we have that height advantage,” Alexander said.
Gulley is a bit undersized for the position but is the closest thing the Cougars (8-1 Valley Oak League, 15-6 overall) have to a post. She energized her squad coming off the bench Tuesday. She scored back-to-back buckets late in the first quarter, the latter off her own steal in the backcourt, and helped Weston Ranch take a 17-10 lead into the second. Gulley had a double-double by halftime (10 points, 12 rebounds) and finished with 19 rebounds and six blocks to go with the 16 points.
“I just come in and try and bring up the intensity as much as I can, get as much rebounds as much as possible,” Gulley said. “Whatever I can do to help the team.”
Rauline Martinez added 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals before fouling out. Teresa Haley chipped in with 10 points.
Bailey Henington had 15 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists to pace Sonora (5-4, 12-7), which now trails VOL co-leaders Weston Ranch and Kimball by three games.
Limiting Henington was a point of emphasis for the Cougars after she scored 24 points in a 75-65 loss to Weston Ranch in the league opener. She accounted for five points in a 7-0 charge that closed the Wildcats in 42-30 with 2:06 left in the third, but they would get no closer.
“Defensively we were a little more prepared for their tempo,” Bauer said. “First time we played them we weren’t prepared for them to be that up-and-down the court. We also did a better job of slowing Bailey Henington down. You can’t stop her, she’s a good player, but we did a better job of containing her.”
Weston Ranch 35,
Jaylene Tauga led the Cougars with 12 points, while Nichole Bigornia chipped in eight.