SAN JOSE -- From a historical perspective, Archbishop Mitty has a significant advantage over the team it will play Saturday in Sacramento for the Division II state girls basketball championship.
The Monarchs will be aiming for their sixth championship in their 10th appearance in a state final.
Their opponent, Chaminade of West Hills, will be making its debut in a state title game.
But when Mitty coach Sue Phillips looks at the Southern California champion, she sees a talented and worthy opponent that can win games in many different ways.
Take last Saturday, for instance. In its 67-50 victory over West Torrence in the Division II SoCal final, Chaminade got 27 points and nine rebounds in 281/2 minutes from 6-foot-3 senior Devin Stanback, bound for Pepperdine.
"She has great footwork around the low block, and she's active, demands the basketball and crashes the o-boards really well," Phillips said.
The Eagles also got 15 points, 14 rebounds and five steals from sophomore Valerie Higgins and 15 points, including 10 for 10 at the foul line, from junior Paige Fecske.
"They have a lot of scorers," Phillips said. "They can come at you from a lot of different avenues, different players, different ways. You look at Higgins, she is averaging six steals a game. That's a tremendous statistic. They've got several players who are going to play at the next level."
Chaminade (28-4) cruised through its regional playoffs, winning four games by an average of nearly 27 points.
Mitty (20-11) breezed through the NorCal regionals until needing a late rally to defeat McNair of Stockton 57-54 in the final at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, site of the game Saturday.
Monarchs star Kelli Hayes said the familiarity with the arena should help against Chaminade.
"We kind of have a feel for it," Hayes said. "We know how the rims work. We know how long the court is. All of the little things can help us have an advantage for this coming Saturday.
"But then again, it's a new day. They're going to come bringing their 'A' game, and we need to bring ours."
Mitty sophomore Jahnay Anderson brought her best shooting touch last week, making all six of her shots, including five from 3-point range, in the win over McNair. But even if her shot is not falling Saturday, she is still an asset, Phillips noted.
"Even if she's 0 for 3, you're still going to have to honor her ability to shoot it," the coach said. "She stretches the defense no matter what when she is in there."
Hayes and Anderson each had 17 points against McNair. If they do that again Saturday, the UCLA-bound Hayes might end her Mitty career with a second state championship.