SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Sacramento State women's basketball junior guard Takara Burse is playing this summer in the San Francisco Bay Area Pro-Am Summer League, becoming the latest hornet to play in the annual competition.
Other current Hornets including redshirt junior Andrea Chenier and junior Fantasia Hilliard and past Hornets such as Tika Koshiyama-Diaz have competed with some of the top collegiate talent in northern California in the annual summer league, which is in its 34th year of operation (18th season for women's basketball).
"The pro-am has that live 5-on-5 action, playing against other college players from all different levels, and it provides the ability to compete and keep your focus sharp," women's basketball head coach Jamie Craighead said. "During the summer we're always worried about our kids losing a little bit of that edge, and you want your team to peak and be sharp in March. Staying game ready is really what the Pro-Am allows players to do."
Burse is playing for South Bay, one of five teams competing in the league. All of the league games are played at Kezar Pavilion at Golden Gate Park in downtown San Francisco. The teams are predominately made up of college players but also have some post-grads and high school players ranging from junior colleges to members of PAC-12 squads.
Burse's teammates include Afure Jemerigbe and Justine Hartman from Cal's 2013 Final Four team, former Stanford player Markisha Coleman, and others from San Francisco, Nevada, and Santa Clara. Several current and former WNBA players have competed in the pro-am including Nneka Ogwumike, Layshia Clarendon, and Jennifer Azzi. Chenier played with Clarendon on the 2011 Bay City team that finished in second place.
The San Francisco Pro-Am league is just one way that the Hornets stay in game shape and work on their skills over the summer.
"Kids that have grown up in that area have played in the league since high school so its something they know they can take part every year, but we know the rest of the team is also working very hard to stay in game shape during the summer," said Craighead. "We encourage them to find as much 5-on-5 as they can; sometimes its in a pro-am and sometimes its finding other schools that might have some kids around and doing some open gyms, as Sacramento is a hub for a lot of college players. We encourage everyone to stay active in the offseason and our kids do a lot of training away from basketball during the summer as well."