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She's no secret: Merced hopes it can keep a Goodman down

John Bliss has heard all he needs to hear about Sacramento Burbank guard Lauren Goodman.

The Merced coach heard how Goodman scored 26 points in a win against Golden Valley.

Buhach Colony coach Jeff Rivero told Bliss how Goodman scored 27 points against his team.

Tonight Bliss will see first hand just how good Goodman is when No. 11 Burbank faces No. 6 Merced (18-8) in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

"Goodman is better than the two (Sheldon) guards we saw last year in the playoffs if everything I hear is true," Bliss said.

"She's a strong point guard. She looks to score and she can shoot the three."

Like Sheldon -- which was a No. 14 seed -- last year, Merced faces a Burbank team that is probably better than its double-digit seed.

"It's a very similar set of circumstances," Bliss said. "Burbank is an 11 seed, but they should probably be an eight or nine.

"They're in a tough league and they kind of dropped down because in that league you have a tough game every night out."

Goodman averages close to 17 points per game and fellow guard Whitney Thomas averages 12.

Other than tweaking their press, Bliss doesn't plan on making any big changes against an athletic opponent.

"We're going to try to control their guards," Bliss said. "We'll try to take the middle of the floor away in our press and force them outside.

"We do that anyway, but we'll concentrate on it a little more."

Merced lost another player when guard Nicole Trujillo moved to the Los Angeles area this past week.

Merced is already without four other key players for various reasons and Bliss doesn't expect star Deja Mann -- who is recovering from surgery on a torn ACL -- to make a heroic return.

"As far as I know, there will be no Deja," Bliss said. "I think my voice inflection would be different if Deja was going to play.

"If we play anything like we did last Thursday (against Golden Valley) or in the fourth quarter against Atwater last Tuesday, we'll be OK.

"We have to come out with that level of focus and energy on the floor."

In other action, No. 16 Golden Valley travels to Sacramento to play top-seeded Kennedy.

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

Sac-Joaquin Section

Division I Girls Playoffs

No. 11 Burbank

at No. 6 Merced

WHEN: Tonight, 7 p.m.

AND THE WINNER GETS... The winner of Thursday's No. 14 Stagg- No.3 Lodi game. Game would be on Saturday at Cosumnes River College.

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