Around the horn - YASIN STOPS, POPS, AND SOARS FOR VIKINGS

Around the horn - YASIN STOPS, POPS, AND SOARS FOR VIKINGS

Sophomore guard Safiyyah Yasin has brought the wow factor to the Diablo Valley College women’s basketball team’s highly successful season.
The first-place Vikings (22-4, 9-1 Big 8), who have won six in a row, have a showdown Tuesday at second-place Sierra (21-3, 8-2) in Rocklin, when they can put themselves in the driver’s seat by avenging a 78-75 loss to Sierra on Jan. 3.
Yasin, out of Skyline High-Oakland, has a turn-it-up quality in the open court. She blows by defenders, stops and pops with grace in the air, or attacks the basket with devastating power.
Plus, she leads.
“She definitely attacks the basket, and I think she came to be a leader on our team because we were lacking a leader,” sophomore guard CC Cuneo said of Yasin after a 77-55 win over Santa Rosa on Feb. 3. “She really pulls everyone together and shows us how to be aggressive and drive to the basket and get to the free-throw line. … She’s driving and kicking it and letting everyone get a shot.”
The talented Vikings have been adept at finding ways to win, overcoming adversity with determination and a high-octane offense. DVC broke the 100-point barrier for third time this season in a 103-82 triumph over American River on Jan. 31.
The Vikings are ranked fourth in the state in scoring with 80.5 points a game. Doris Jones (Kipp King) leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.3 a game. Yasin is No. 2 at 16.3 ppg.
Yasin had 21 points and 10 assists against American River, and was one of five players in double figures against Santa Rosa with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Looking confident and assertive, Cuneo had a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Cuneo says it took a while for the team to overcome the loss of a key inside player 17 games into the season.
“It took us a couple of games to get used to everyone playing together,” Cuneo said. “But I think we’re all driving now and we got five girls in double figures (against Santa Rosa), which is good because we’re all contributing. Now we’re just getting ready for Sierra because that’s the most important game right now.”
Yasin, who has received interest from Chico State, Dominguez Hills and Antelope Valley, has confidence in her playing and leadership abilities. Her flair in the open court comes naturally.
“Since high school I’ve always been able to stop on a dime and just float,” she says. “I get pretty good air time for my size, I guess, and so I’ve always been good at doing that.”

MEN’S BASKETBALL: The Vikings (18-7, 6-4) dropped a heartbreaker 59-57 against visiting Santa Rosa on Feb. 3, when a victory would have put them in a three-way tie for first place in the tightly bunched Big 8.
Instead, Santa Rosa (17-7, 8-2) now leads the Vikings and Sacramento City (14-10, 6-4) both by two games. Second-place San Joaquin Delta (14-9, 7-3) is one game back.
The Vikings played solid defense overall but squandered a 29-22 halftime lead as the calls and the shots turned against them in the end. DVC set up a potential winning 3-point shot as Rodney Pope passed to Jovontae Carelton, but his shot hit the back iron two seconds before the final buzzer.
The Vikings tied the game at 57 on a close-in shot by freshman 6-foot-10 post Eric Nielsen on a clever dish from Pope, but two Bear Cubs free throws by Justin Frazier with 9.7 seconds left proved the difference, as Santa Rosa swept DVC in two Big 8 meetings.
-- Matt Schwab