Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

New Mexicans Finish What They Start at Cochise.(Sports)

Byline: Where Are They Now? BOB LARKIN Of the Journal

Cochise County Community College might be in Douglas, Ariz., but the success of its women's basketball team depends in large part on how well six New Mexicans do, including all five starters.

Entering this weekend, the Lady Apaches are 8-12 overall, having competed against some of the top juco ballclubs in this part of the country prior to starting league play. They're 7-7 in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, with a good part of the schedule remaining, and have won five of their last seven games.

Leading Cochise are a pair of sophomores who made the all-region team last season: 5-foot, 8-inch wing Rachel Atencio, a 1999 Las Cruces High graduate; and 5-4 point guard Elrolica Chopito, a '99 Gallup grad.

Atencio, a preseason second-team All-American, is sixth in the league this season in scoring at 15.6 points a game and second in steals (4.5).

She's also pulling down 7.7 rebounds a game. As a freshman, Atencio led the ACCAC in scoring at 18.8 ppg, was second in steals (5.8) and sixth in rebounding (8.4).

Chopito stirs the Apaches' drink from the point, averaging 11.2 points, 4.5 assists and three made 3-pointers a game. She also is shooting an outstanding 90.2 percent from the foul line. As a freshman, Chopito scored 15.3 ppg and hit on 90.6 percent of her free throws.

"A lot of (four-year schools) have been taking a good look at Rachel and Elrolica, but they haven't made a decision yet where they'll play next year," says Cochise coach Steve Lane.

Also starting is Jessica Curtis (Mayfield, 2000), a 5-9 freshman shooting guard who's scoring 11. …

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