Cru­saders se­nior Lops signs to play bas­ket­ball with Cal-Bak­ers­field

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Sports - By Rich DePreta

STAM­FORD — Hard work has re­sulted in a just re­ward for Iyanna Lops.

The Trin­ity Catholic High School se­nior has seen her hoops and col­lege dreams come true as she has signed a Na­tional Let­ter of In­tent to at­tend and play bas­ket­ball at Di­vi­sion I Cal-State Univer­sity at Bak­ers­field.

“The Cal-Bak­ers­field coach­ing staff was the first school to con­tact me and they stayed in touch with me through­out the re­cruit­ing process,” Lops said. “Go­ing to school far away from Con­necti­cut wasn’t an is­sue. Cal-Bak­ers­field was the best fit and the best place for my fu­ture.”

Cal-Bak­ers­field coach Greg McCall is in his eighth sea­son in charge of the Run­ners’ women’s bas­ket­ball pro­gram. They will grad­u­ate six se­niors or red­shirt se­niors af­ter the 2018-19 sea­son.

McCall’s daugh­ter Er­ica played in an NCAA Fi­nal Four at Stan­ford Univer­sity. She is a cur­rent mem­ber of the In­di­ana Fever of the WNBA.

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity for Iyanna,” Trin­ity Catholic High School girls bas­ket­ball coach Mike Mar­tino said. “She has worked so hard. And she wants to con­tinue to grow as a bas­ket­ball player.”

The 6-foot-2 Lops has the

ver­sa­til­ity to score both in the post and with perime­ter jumpers.

An­other ma­jor fac­tor in her de­vel­op­ment on the bas­ket­ball court has been her sum­mer play with an AAU Elite team run by former Hill­house High School, West Vir­ginia Univer­sity, WNBA At­lanta Dream and Con­necti­cut Sun stand­out Bria Holmes.

“Play­ing sum­mer AAU ball helped my game so much. The level of com­pe­ti­tion was key. Play­ing against girls who were big­ger and stronger than me,” Lops said. “I had to ad­just and ex­pand my skillset to suc­ceed.”

Lops’ AAU ex­pe­ri­ence gave her the ex­po­sure nec­es­sary to earn an NCAA Di­vi­sion I schol­ar­ship.

“My re­cruit­ing process had slowed. But the AAU ex­po­sure got me no­ticed,” Lops said. “To play NCAA Di­vi­sion I bas­ket­ball is a wel­come test. And Bria Holmes’ AAU made it pos­si­ble.”

Lops can now turn her full at­ten­tion to the 20182019 Trin­ity Catholic High School girls bas­ket­ball cam­paign. The Cru­saders were 8-12 over­all and 6-10 in the FCIAC last sea­son. Trin­ity Catholic grad­u­ated only for­ward Molly Mur­ray from its 10-player ros­ter.

“Hav­ing my col­lege de­ci­sion made has cleared the air. But I will have a big­ger tar­get on my back in the FCIAC,” Lops said. “It is a re­lief to have this en­tire process done.”

Matthew Brown / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Trin­ity Catholic’s Iyanna Lops (15) has signed on to play at Cal-Bak­ers­field.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Trin­ity Catholic’s Iyanna Lops (15) grabs a re­bound from Westhill’s Pey­ton Hack­ett (3) and Vana Ser­vos (2) in a FCIAC girls bas­ket­ball game at Trin­ity Catholic High School’s Walsh Court in Stam­ford on Jan. 19. Lops has signed on to play at Cal-Bak­ers­field.

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