FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Focus hasn't been an issue this year for the UC Merced Women's basketball team... the Bobcats finished Cal Pac Conference play undefeated... and it all begins with a mindset...
"We want to play hard, we want to play smart and we want to play together and if we do these 3 things we are going to be successful and it's really become ingrained to what we do," said Bobcats head coach Sarah Hopkins-Chery.
In just their fourth year of existence, the Bobcats are building a winning tradition. Last year they the won the Cal Pac Conference Tournament, a far cry from their 3-win season in year one.
"3 out of the 4 seniors have been here since the first year. My first year it was a rough year but we knew we were just starting, we had a lot of potential. Now we are going to the playoffs, we won the championship last year, it just is amazing to see how far we've come together," said senior guard Shelby Howard.
"I'd say we are a team that's together all the time. Our main goal is to be successful on the court and that we all still carry each other outside, whether it's school or taking care of each other in social aspects," said center Mia Shannon.
From the court to the classroom and beyond the Bobcat program prepares the players for life after basketball.
"There is a lot of things that we talk about that why we may be applying it on the basketball court. This is going to apply when you go into the work-force, there is going to be times when you don't feel well, when you don't want to get up and go to work and you are going to have to get up and go to work. Just that whole life balance and I think it really prepares them for their future and successful careers I expect them to have," said Hopkins-Chery.