By Liliana Marquez
As the clock ticked off the final seconds, East Los Angeles College guard Dioseline Lopez scored a crucial three-pointer that gave the women’s basketball team momentum.
It was all or nothing. The Huskies needed those points to tie the game and send it in overtime against the state’s No. 7-ranked Los Angeles Valley College.
ELAC’s co-captain Lopez did not disappoint in the CCCAA second round playoff game. She also scored a career-high 33 points that night in a 92-88 loss.
As a result of her performance throughout the season, Dioseline, 19, was named the 2013-14 South Coast Conference North Division Player-of-Year. She was also named to the CCCAA Southern California All-State Third Team.
Her father, Rosario Lopez said that the loss was difficult, but her family was there to support her and that she cried a lot after that loss. He told her to be proud of herself because she had a great performance.
He told her to be proud of herself because she had a great performance. “It broke my heart to see her cry. Winning a championship has always been her biggest dream and she couldn’t do it,” her mother Martha Lopez said in Spanish.
Dioseline, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall, was born and raised in Los Angeles, her love for basketball began when she was nine years old.
“When I was in elementary school, basketball was the main sport. It caught my attention when I watched guys playing it. You can do any move you want. You can make the defender look silly and you get to interact with people,” Dioseline said.
She also played softball for a while, but basketball was the sport that she fell in love with.
As of now, one of her priorities is to become a professional basketball player. She works day after day to achieve that goal. “I’ve always dreamed of playing for the (Los Angeles) Sparks as a professional. I would also love to play in Mexico,” Dioseline said.
Her parents were born in Mexico and that is one of the reasons why she would like to play basketball in that country.
Dioseline attended local Garfield High School where she played basketball for four years as a guard. She was also captain of the varsity team. She left high school without achieving one of her goals. She wanted to win a championship and get a ring.
For this reason, she worked even harder to make that dream a reality while playing at ELAC, but the first season with the Huskies proved to be a challenge.
“It was a tough year. It was difficult to adjust, but it also was a fun year. It changed the person and athlete I was,” Dioseline said.
The support of her family also motivated Dioseline and helped her adjust to her new team. Her father started going to her basketball games at the end of her last season at Garfield.
“After that, I never missed a game. I went to all the games she played at ELAC. I get very excited every time I watch her play. I love how she plays because she is aggressive and quick,” Rosario said in Spanish.
Martha tried to attend the games. Just like her husband, she enjoyed watching their daughter play and feels proud of Dioseline’s accomplishments. “It’s amazing to watch her play and witness all the great things she can do on the court,” Martha said.
Coming to ELAC and joining the basketball team changed Dioseline’s life. “I learned a lot about what reality was,” Dioseline said.
Her second year at ELAC was also full of new and exciting things. Dioseline will always remember the game against Valley, the tying shot and the 33 points she scored.
The duty of being ELAC’s co-captain was not an easy task for Dioseline. “Being a leader can be challenging. Sometimes your teammates might not agree with what you say, so you have to be careful and try to do what’s best for the team,” Dioseline said.
She also keeps in mind that getting an education is important for her future. For this reason she decided to major in kinesiology.
Dioseline’s mother said that she always reminds her that education and basketball should be her top priorities, and that she needs to excel in both.
“We never know what can happen in the future. She might get injured and be forced to quit basketball, so she needs to have a backup plan,” Martha said.
Although Dioseline loves basketball, if she could change something about the sport, it would be the way female players are treated.
When she was younger and just starting to play basketball, she said that some of the male players told her that she didn’t belong there and that the court wasn’t her place. This was just because she was a woman.
But experiencing that didn’t discourage her. She was even more motivated to accomplish her goals.
Something that always keeps her working hard and fighting for her dreams is her winning mentality.
“She is always focused in basketball and she always keeps positive. She is responsible because she loves the game,” Rosario said.
Her parents are not the only ones who notice her commitment and talent. Both of them said that on multiple occasions, people told them that their daughter is a great and talented player.
“It makes me proud to hear others say positive things about her. They recognize her talent and that for me is priceless,” Martha said.
When she was 12 years old, Dioseline had the chance to meet Kobe Bryant, the athlete she admires the most. She met him when she attended one of his training camps.
“I got a chance to meet him and talked to him about the game and about my future. He told me not to give up and to keep fighting for my dreams,” Dioseline said.
That moment is something that Lopez will always cherish and remember.
“He inspired her even more. He also encouraged her and her life changed because of meeting him,” Martha said.
Dioseline’s father said that Bryant is her idol and that she wants to be like him. She wants to become a great player and a winner.
Dioseline has a long way to go, but even at her age, she is taking the time to pass on her knowledge to her only brother, Bryant Lopez.
Bryant, 14, also plays basketball in high school. Their parents said that even though they have their differences, they have a good relationship and that Dioseline always gives him advice.
As of now, Dioseline’s top priority is to get her bachelor’s degree and to keep training hard. She received some offers to play at universities both in and out of the state and she want to transfer this year, hoping to soon start playing basketball at the next level.