There’s a talented group of freshmen making noise on the PLNU women’s basketball team. Roya Rustamzada, Amy Ogren, Alex Brunk and Paola Roa, four new players who have been dubbed “the Fabulous Four” by Head Coach Bill Westphal, are leading PLNU into the post-season.
The freshmen are led by Rustamzada, an exercise and sports science major from Temecula. Rustamzada has been the PacWest Freshmen of the Week four times this season while averaging 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Sea Lions.
“She’s un-guardable,” said assistant coach Dwayne Cosby. “She’s the best we’ve had since Jess Mercado [who was an All-American Basketball player for the Sea Lions in 2005].”
Rustamzada began playing basketball when she was 5 years old.
“I like the way it can take me away from reality,” Rustamzada said. “I can just think about anything.”
Even though the team is now very close, Rustamzada said transitioning from high school to college athletics was difficult.
“In the beginning, it was tough. It was hard adapting to the new players,” Rustamzada said.
But Rustamzada was not phased. She had her second double-double against Hawaii Hilo with 12 points and 10 rebounds and a personal record of seven assists versus UHH and BYU-Hawaii.
Despite the initial unease, the team quickly came together on and off the court.
“Now I love it. I’ve never played with a team like this,” said Rustamzada. “We all clicked really well, and quickly, which was surprising, but we had a lot of chemistry. I’m going to be so sad when the season’s over.”
The depth of their bond is evident. They can’t seem to stop gushing about each other.
“I really enjoy playing with each of the girls,” said Ogren, a childhood development major from Yorba Linda, California. “Their personalities and their basketball skills are spectacular.
Ogren averages 4.7 points per game and Brunk, 3.5 points per game while shooting 39% from three-range, good for second best on the team.
“I love all the freshmen; we’re like a little family,” said Brunk, an education major from Newbury Park, California. “I love how we all get along and work well together. Everyone is always looking out for each other.”
Roa averages 6.1 points per game to go along with a 77.5 free throw percentage–fifth on the team.
“I love how different we all are,” said Roa, a entrepreneurship and marketing major from Huntington Beach, California. “The team is diverse, but we all fit together like puzzle pieces. We need each girl and we all contribute.”
While basketball is important, each girl agrees that it’s not the defining aspect of their lives.
“I like how the team has the ability to put school and other needs in front of basketball,” said Ogren, a childhood development major from Yorba Linda, California. “Basketball isn’t life. We can have fun with it.”
“I came to PLNU for academics and basketball, but mostly because I knew God was calling me here and I wanted to further that relationship,” said Roa.
Each of the girls has many interests outside of basketball. Roa plays other sports and writes poems; Ogren likes camping and going to the beach. Rustamzada enjoys relaxing and Brunk bakes and volunteers to help students with special needs.
Although they are all multi-dimensional in their interests, each freshman seemed determined to do one thing: win conference.
“I think we are a phenomenal team. We’ve been underestimated, but we’re the best team in the conference,” said Roa.
They show lots of promise now and are hoping to get better every year.
“In the next four years we’ll really gel together,” said Ogren.
Look out PacWest, these four freshmen are coming for you.