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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Roberts' Energetic Style Gives Opponents Devil of a Time

March 12, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

STUDIO CITY — Off the court, Corrie Roberts collects Tasmanian Devil memorabilia. On the court, she often acts like the whirling dervish of cartoon fame.

Roberts' devil-may-care style has helped the Harvard-Westlake High girls' basketball team advance to the semifinals of the state Division III Southern Regional.

The Wolverines (27-5) play Morningside (27-6) at 7:30 tonight at Harvard-Westlake in a rematch of the Southern Section Division III-A final won Friday by Harvard-Westlake, 45-41.

"Her shoes will be tough to fill," Wolverine Coach Brian Taylor said of his only senior starter. "I don't see anyone else out there diving for loose balls and firing up the crowd like she does."

Roberts, who has accepted a scholarship to play softball at Georgia State, is one of Harvard-Westlake's best all-around athletes. And perhaps its most effective cheerleader.

When not diving on the floor or crashing into gymnasium walls for loose balls, Roberts often pumps her fists and waves her arms to incite the Wolverine crowd.

"I don't mean anything by it," said Roberts, the daughter of Lew Roberts, the school's 18-year wrestling coach. "I get a lot of enjoyment from the crowd."

The feeling is mutual.

Roberts is averaging a team-high 18.2 points in the playoffs for the Wolverines, who are having their best season in the program's seven-year history.

A four-year starter in two varsity sports, Roberts could easily fill a scrapbook with clippings of her athletic success, and fill a photo album with X-rays of her many injuries.

Two weeks ago in a playoff game against Pomona Ganesha, she became the first Wolverine to surpass 1,000 points in a career.

Roberts reached the mark despite missing 10 games as a junior because of a broken right foot, an injury that also cost her all but six games of her junior softball season.

"From the first day she started playing sports, she's been diving in the dirt," Lew Roberts said.

Doctors replaced a damaged bone in Corrie's foot with a bone belonging to someone else.

"Everyone says it must have belonged to a track star because I'm faster now," said Roberts, who sprained her wrist earlier this season.

Roberts' Tasmanian Devil collection grows almost daily.

Four dolls sit on the dashboard of her car. Another sits on the armrest. Eight Tasmanian Devil air fresheners hang from the rear-view mirror.

Roberts already has a Tasmanian Devil doormat waiting for her dormitory room at Georgia State.

Her favorite stuffed Taz has served as a team mascot through the playoffs, resting on the bench Friday while Harvard-Westlake captured its first section title by beating Morningside at the Pyramid in Long Beach.

Roberts shot poorly in that game, finishing with only nine points. It was her lowest scoring output of the playoffs.

The stuffed doll was banished to Roberts' car Tuesday during the Wolverines' 83-53 victory over University of San Diego in a first-round regional game. Roberts scored a game-high 20 points, including 18 in the first half.

"Taz will be staying in the car again [tonight]," Roberts said.

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