The women's basketball teams at Ventura and Oxnard colleges once again are bouncing in opposite directions.
Ventura opened Western State Conference play last week with a pair of victories and optimism about getting to the playoffs. Oxnard dropped its conference opener and is looking at another rebuilding year.
"If you hear of a 6-3 center available, please let me know," said Oxnard Coach Dan Campbell, whose tallest player is 5-10 center Kelly Larsen.
"We just don't have the size to beat the big teams."
Through Tuesday, Oxnard was 5-10 and Ventura was 14-4. The teams were scheduled to meet Wednesday.
A year ago, Oxnard finished 10-19 and Ventura was 21-8.
Oxnard lacks numbers as well as size: It has only seven players, including one who did not play organized basketball before this season. Ventura Coach George Valenzuela's situation is hardly so difficult.
"This team has matured and is really playing together," Valenzuela said.
"We expect to be in the playoffs and battle Moorpark for the (conference) title."
Valenzuela and Campbell both are in their third seasons, but Ventura continues to beat its rival in the local recruiting game.
Ventura features a tall, talented lineup featuring 6-foot-3 center Chris Royers from Buena High.
Royers is averaging 20 points and 16 rebounds a game. She had a school-record 29 rebounds against Santa Barbara.
Royers receives plenty of support from forwards Suzanne Hoag (11 rebounds) and Nikki Brooks (seven).
Guard Angela Williams leads Ventura in three-point baskets, averaging three a game.
She set a school single-game record last week by making six long-range shots against Cuesta College.
The only freshman in the Ventura lineup is 5-4 point guard Marli Mactal from Channel Islands High. She leads the team in assists, averaging five a game.
"Everyone's got a role on the team," Valenzuela said. "So far, they're playing them just like they should be."
Oxnard's bright spot has been the play of guards Nicole Force and Tami Cleaver, who are averaging 21 and 19 points, respectively. Larsen is pulling down eight rebounds a game.
"We're still in the rebuilding stages here," said Campbell, who resurrected the program three years ago after it had ceased.
"Each year we're a little stronger."