Congratulations to Coach Jim Couch- 2007-2008
WSC Northern Division Coach of the Year!!!
Emmilee Ringelberg and Tiara Richardson are
named First Team All-Conference with Janet Alvarado receiving
Scholarship takes sisters to New Mexico
By: Sol Rapoport
and Tiffany Henderson have basketball in their blood. Their
father, Jerome Henderson, played professional basketball for
more than 13 years for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, the
Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons.
Now the women are continuing the basketball tradition with matching
scholarships to New Mexico State University.
Come this September, the sisters will be heading out to New
Mexico State as Pierce College transfer students together -
"We've been getting recruited all season long," said
Brittany Henderson. "But this is great."
Their years of playing basketball have paid off handsomely.
After being recruited by a number of other colleges, including
Winthrop University in South Carolina and California State University,
Dominguez Hills, they have accepted full scholarships to New
The scholarships-which will cover tuition, books, room and board-are
significant for the sisters.
"College is expensive," said Tiffany Henderson. "Especially
now with tuition increases, this helps a lot.
"I had to work, go to school, then come to practice-we
both did. We were juggling a lot of things. And we made it after
Out-of-state tuition at New Mexico State would run the sisters
more than $13,000 each their first year. After that, they would
have to pay $4,500 a year.
Despite the fact that their father went to the University of
New Mexico, the rival of New Mexico State, their parents are
"happy about the situation."
"Mom is happy because she wants us to go to school together,"
said Brittany Henderson. "Her dream was for us to stay
James Couch, the women's basketball head coach at Pierce, said
the Henderson sisters were highly recruited.
"San Francisco was after them," he said. "We
also had Virginia Tech and Saint Mary's looking at Brittany.
was our conference MVP," he added. "I'm glad to
see that she accepted the offer that New Mexico State gave
said they felt like we could be a very helpful part of the team
and that we could fit well into their system," she said.
Couch played a major role in the offer, maintaining constant
contact with representatives from New Mexico State.
"Their coach was able to watch them play and then keep
in touch with me and my staff all season," he said. "We
showed them they were capable of playing at the Division I
level. We were in constant communication with the coaches
from New Mexico."
For their part, the Henderson sisters have a deep appreciation
of their coach.
"Despite all the different obstacles we had to overcome,
he was very positive through the whole season," said
Tiffany Henderson. "He was the only one telling us we
could do it when every other school was telling us we were
an easy win."
Both women have been playing basketball since their youth.
"We've been playing together for almost 10 years,"
said Tiffany Henderson, 20.
They are transferring together now, despite the fact that
Brittany Henderson is a year younger than her sister, because
she was sidelined with an ankle injury.
"I had to sit out a whole year at Glendale College because
of my injury," said Tiffany Henderson. "Then I came
to Pierce and I've been able to play the whole year."
In fact, she was able to play a number of positions on the
"I play like three positions here," she said. "I
played some small forward, forward and center. I like small
forward and center the best."
She has tried to bring a lot of energy to the court and "a
lot of hustle." Among her strengths she counts being
very approachable and a team player.
"I'm a very big defensive force and a kind of team anchor,"
Couch agreed, saying she has a "great defensive presence."
He added "She makes the opposing team change how they
Her difficulty is "consistency, mostly offensive throughout,"
noted Tiffany Henderson.
That didn't seem to stop recruiters from being interested,
Brittany Henderson, who plays the shooting guard position at
Pierce, led the state in scoring this year, according to Couch.
"She is a constant threat offensively," he said. "She
can score from anywhere on the court and she can play all the
positions from point guard to center. She is a very special,
talented young lady."
Brittany Henderson's self-assessment stresses her ability to
focus on the group.
"I think one of my strengths is that I'm very team-oriented,"
she said. "I'm a passionate player. There are things I
still need to work on as far as my fundamentals, but I'm continuing
to get stronger and be a more skillful player. I always continue
to work on myself."
That work, she says, is an integral component of being part
of a team.
"I'm proud of the fact that the team at Pierce has done
so much better this year and of the season we've had,"
"We went 25-6 and that's so much better. It's one of the
best seasons here ever."
The sports-minded sisters take their love of the game off the
court too. In their spare time, they help their father coach
a team league at Balboa Park which includes their 11-year-old
"We take a group of kids from different backgrounds from
the area and make a team out of them," said Tiffany Henderson.
"My dad is head coach and we're the assistant coaches."
She's not sure however, if sports will be a life-long commitment
Once at New Mexico State, she'd like to major in theater arts
and minor in journalism and mass communications.
"If the opportunity came up to play professionally overseas
or in the WNBA I'd consider doing that," she said. "After
that I'd go into the theatrical side, do a lot of theater and
maybe even write for a magazine."
Brittany Henderson looks to fill her immediate future with business
and finance studies.
She said she'd be interested in playing professionally if the
circumstances were right.
"If not then I'd like to be involved in the business side
No matter what their futures hold, Couch is glad to have had
them as part of his team. "I've been coaching for over
30 years and I've had many girls come through my ranks,"
he said. "But these two girls are in my top 10 of all time.
I've had a lot of success as a coach. "And as long as I
keep getting girls like Tiffany and Brittany I'll continue to