Tineka Spencer was soft, and she knew it.
At 6-foot-2, the Merced College center possessed favorable size for a junior college post player, but it didn't prevent her from struggling in her freshman season.
Bigger, stronger opponents bullied her down on the block. Smaller, quicker opponents simply ran her into the ground.
"I was really frustrated and knew I had to do something," Spencer admitted. "I had to lose some extra weight and work on my fundamentals.
"I really just needed to push myself."
Spencer went to work on her conditioning in the offseason and began to dominate the inside like she used to in high school.
Spencer finished second on the team with 9.7 points per game and 6.3 rebounds. She led the Lady Devils with 29 blocks.
The sophomore's hard work was rewarded with a pair of honors, being named to the all-CVC first team and to the all-state third team.
"Tineka has done such an outstanding job of working and improving this season," MC coach Allen Huddleston said.
Spencer was one of five Lady Devils to receive conference honors.
Sophomores Tiara Dunson (9.9 points and 6.6 rebounds) and Keyona McKibbens (6.1 points, 2.3 assists) were also named to the first team.
Tanisha White and freshman Alyssa Wright were both named to the second team.
The men's basketball team earned its share of postseason honors as well.
Lavell Shipman was a constant force for MC in his sophomore season. The swingman averaged 14.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.5 steals per game, earning first-team honors.
"I thought Lavell did a pretty good job all around for us," MC coach Bill Russell said. "He was the returner with the most experience and he responded to that and led us."
Freshman Logan Wiens received an all-CVC honorable mention.
Wiens and point guard John Lowe were named to the all-freshman team and sophomore forwards Erin Walker and Stephon Thomas were named to the CVC's all-defensive team.