After a 20-year hiatus, the University of Guam women's varsity basketball team debuted, winning their season opener 86-41 in the PBS Guam Women's Basketball League Tuesday night at the UOG Calvo Field House.
Squaring up against Team Legends, which is comprised of women who currently play at the masters level, the Tritons jumped out to a 30-4 lead. Armed with high-school all stars Johnia Siguenza, Isla Quinata, Shania Bulala and Danica Cabrera along with Saipan standout Jan-Nasia Tavilla, the Tritons ran the court with ease, dropping buckets in transition before the defense could even get down court.
Tavilla dropped 10 points in the first quarter. Wisconsin recruit Paige Persha added 8 points, shooting 4-of-4 from the line in the offensive onslaught.
A little shellshocked, Team Legends found their groove in the second quarter, outperforming the Tritons to the tune of 18-15. Moving the ball a little quicker around the perimeter, Team Legends found holes in the Triton defense. Sass Sison and Erwin Takasy had the hot hand, dropping 10 of the team's 18 points in the quarter. On the defensive end, Legends did a better job of stopping the ball.
But, the damage was done and Legends couldn't recover from that adrenaline-fueled quarter. The Tritons rotated their players, trying to find a steady rhythm as they pulled away.
The Tritons had six players in double digits. Tavilla led the way with 21 points, four of them coming from long range. Siguenza and Quinata added 11 points apiece. While Persha, Cabrera and Bulala added 10 in their win.
Takasy led the Legends with 10 points, while Rhia Constantino added 8 points in the loss.
It's always good to start the season with a win, and the Tritons, who are fielding a team for the first time in 20 years, definitely want to perform well.
"Our first game was a really great start for the team, and I only hope that we can improve even more from there," Quinata said.
Gelling and building chemistry is important, said Quinata, a first-team all-island guard who played for the Saint Paul Christian School Warriors in their last two championship seasons.
"It took a lot of practice and conditioning to get the UOG team and I where we are right now," she said. "It was a lot easier for me to transition and play with the girls, especially since I knew and played with most of them and our chemistry together is just really great."
Tritons' guard Danielle Robles echoed her teammate's sentiments.
"(I'm) very happy with how the team works together, especially on the court," said Robles, adding she was "honored to be part of something that's making a comeback."
For Tavilas, playing on Guam has been an adjustment – one that she has welcomed.
"Here on Guam, there are more players my age, so it's more competitive," she said, adding the difference in competition is noticeable.
In the second game of the night, Fuetsa defeated the UOG Tridents, the university's club team, 94-9. The score at the half was 51-0 behind the speed and sharpshooting of Elisia Perez.
On Thursday, the Tritons return to the court at 6:30 p.m. against the Tridents, while Team Legends take on the Fuesta at 8:15 p.m. with both games in the UOG Calvo Field House.