Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Led by two All-Empire players of the year and a pair of blossoming post players, Santa Rosa Junior College is back among California’s best women’s basketball teams.

The Bear Cubs have won six straight including their first three Big 8 Conference games since losing the City College of San Francisco tournament final to San Bernardino Valley College – California’s top ranked team.

At 13-5 overall and 3-0 in league play, Santa Rosa is ranked No. 8 in the latest California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association poll, No. 3 in Northern California.

Santa Rosa is seeking a second straight run to the California Community College Athletic Association’s final four.

A deep and balanced club, Santa Rosa is led by guards Mia Greco, Petaluma high, and Jen Tsurumoto, Analy high, the team’s only double figure scorers. Greco averages 14 points and 4 assists per contest. Tsurumoto scores 13 a game.

Tsurumoto was last season’s Large School All-Empire Player of the Year. Greco held that honor the year before.

Third in the scoring column for Santa Rosa is Ashley Morgan a guard-forward from Maria Carrillo high. Morgan scores 9 points and grabs 9 rebounds a game, as well as leading the Bear Cubs in 3-point field goals.

Frontcourt stalwart Krysten Copeland, Santa Rosa high, adds 9 points and 6 rebounds a game, plus a couple of blocks per contest.

In Tuesday’s win over Cosumnes River, Copeland scored 14, Tsurumoto 13 and Morgan 12,  adding 11 rebounds. Greco had 9 points and assisted on 4 scores.

Santa Rosa is young with only four second year players on the roster.

Aiming for back-to-back appearances in the state junior college final four, Santa Rosa played a tough non-league schedule to prepare for another playoff push. The Bear Cubs have played eight games against teams ranked in the latest state Top 20 poll.

Last season, Santa Rosa lost in the state semifinals. The Bear Cubs had not been to the final four since 1988, when Santa Rosa won the school’s only state title.

First the Bear Cubs want to defend their Big 8 Conference title. The toughest league rivals again appear to be San Joaquin Delta, ranked No. 16 in the state, and Sierra College, at No. 19.

Santa Rosa travels to Sierra on Friday and returns home against Delta on Tuesday, game time 6 p.m.