SBCC women’s basketball star wraps up amazing first season

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SBCC women’s basketball star wraps up amazing first season

Aaliyah Pauling, in the Sports Pavilion at Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Pauling is a freshman point guard for City College’s women’s basketball team.

Aaliyah Pauling, in the Sports Pavilion at Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Pauling is a freshman point guard for City College’s women’s basketball team.

Diana Aguilar

Aaliyah Pauling, in the Sports Pavilion at Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Pauling is a freshman point guard for City College’s women’s basketball team.

Diana Aguilar

Diana Aguilar

Aaliyah Pauling, in the Sports Pavilion at Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Pauling is a freshman point guard for City College’s women’s basketball team.

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SBCC women’s basketball star Aaliyah Pauling (No.32) is deciding her future after a great freshman season with the Vaqueros.

Pauling, who hails from Spokane, Washington, led the team in points, assists, steals and was second in rebounds per game this season. She is now choosing between either Texas A&M University or Northland College in Wisconsin, or staying at City College for her sophomore season.

“Wherever I go I want to keep playing basketball,” she said. “From there I am going to go to law school because I want to become a corporate lawyer.”

In her first season at the college level, Pauling developed into a leader that her teammates and coaches can rely on.

“We need her type of positivity and leadership,” said teammate Meagan Moore (No.3). Aaliyah is a hard worker, humble person and a motivational teammate.”

Paired with her strong leadership qualities, Pauling wants to show people that she is a strong competitor and will do what it takes to win.

“People might doubt me because of my size so I like to prove people wrong,” Pauling said. “I really like to compete and show people how good I really am.”

Pauling started playing basketball in third grade and has stuck with it ever since because of family ties to the sport and the friendships she made along the way.

“My grandpa was drafted into the NBA and it has just been a family sport for us. I wasn’t forced into it, but I was around it all the time. Also a lot of my friendships have been through basketball and I have met a lot of people through the sport.”

Her family continues to show support every chance they get, making efforts to see all of the games even if they cannot physically attend.

“Every home game they will go to someone’s house and stream it on the TV and watch my game. They ask me for the game write ups afterwards. It’s my whole family so I definitely get a lot of support from them.”

In a year in which her team finished with a record of 12-14 and fell short of the playoffs, Pauling did everything she could to help the team. Her points average of 13.8 was sixth in the WSC North while her 4.1 assists per game ranked second and 2.5 steals ranked fourth in the conference.

“Having Aaliyah on our team this year was awesome,” said teammate Lauren Noggle (No.15). “We lost our captain this year to an ACL injury and Aaliyah did a great job stepping up and leading our team for the rest of the season.”

Head coach Sandrine Krul said she sees many great qualities in Pauling, among them those of a leader and a kind person.

You will not find a more caring, honest, sensitive, compassionate, and genuine person who happens to play basketball. But that is not why Aaliyah is so teachable. It is because she is extremely loyal to her teammates, to the coaching staff and to SBCC as a whole.”

On top of everything, Pauling has earned a 3.8 GPA and said she appreciates the strong academics at City College, which were important in her decision to become a Vaquero.

“I really wanted a good academic junior college because academics always comes first for me. Even if City College wasn’t like other offers, it was still somewhere I could see myself going and enjoying myself.”

If Pauling chooses to move on to another school in May, the team will need to fill a large hole.

“Aaliyah brings her competing spirit to the team on the court but off the court she’s such a sweetheart and so much fun,” said teammate Diamond Alexander (No.23).

Coach Krul will always be left with an impression of her strong leadership qualities and sees the effect Pauling has on her teammates and others around.

“One day after a game I saw Aaliyah huddled up with two of our freshman guards,” said Krul. “She told me that after every game and practice she talks with them about how they performed, good or bad, how they can improve, and how they can make the team better as a result of their improvement.”

“I left that locker room a very happy coach because this young leader is taking it upon herself to empower, build confidence, and show strength to her mentee’s. That was a nice reminder of why I got into coaching, to empower women through the game of basketball. That is what Aaliyah does.”

 

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