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WWE women's wrestler Nia Jax,
who played baskeball for Palomar in the early 2000's
under her actual name of Savalina Fanene, mugs for
the camera with her cousin, Dwayne "The Rock"
Johnson, during a workout session in Florida. --
Instagram photo. The Rock's mother, Ata
Mavia-Johnson, is Fanene's aunt. Fannene/Jax is
pictured below when she played women's basketball
for Palomar in 2002-03 under then-coach Sherry
Titus. Fanene/Jax, who is of mixed Samoan-German
ancestory, and Dwayne Johnson are members of pro
wrestling's famous Anoa'i family (Roman Reigns,
whose actual name is Leati Anoa'i, Afa and Sika
Anoa'i, Jimmy and Jey Uso, many others, both past
PC basketball alum
Fanene feels draft in WWE
MARCOS (7-20-2016) --
Savalina "Lina" Fanene, who helped lead Palomar's
2002-03 women's basketball team to a Pacific Coast
Conference championship, has aspired to a career in
pro wrestling since watching her cousin, Dwayne "The
Rock" Johnson, in WrestleMania XXVIII.
Fanene already had been glued to the TV watching
professional wrestling since childhood. That's
hardly a big surprise. She is a member (as is Dwayne
Johnson) of wrestling's famous Anoa'i family (Roman
Reigns, whose actual name Leati Anoa'i, Afa and Sika
Anoa'i, Jimmy and Jey Uso, many others both past and
Fast forward to early in
2014, when she was signed by the WWE and assigned to
its developmental brand, NXT, based at the WWE
Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
She made her in-ring debut on
May 7, 2015 at an NXT house show under the ring name
Zada. Fanane has been on the fast-track to becoming an
expected huge WWE "Super Star" since.
Rushed up the ladder in NXT,
she earned a title match barely six months later, on
Dec. 16, when she wrestled for the NXT Women's
Championship at NXT TakeOver: London, and again on June
8 at NXT TakeOver: The End at Winter Park, Florida. Both
times, she fell short of winning the championship, but
from that point on there has been no stopping this
Now fast forward again to
Tuesday night, when 6-foot-2, 272-pound ex-model Fanene,
who since the early days of her career has been
wrestling as Nia Jax, was the fourth female selected in
the WWE's joint Monday Night Raw-Smack-Down Live
brand-split draft on world-wide TV (round No. 5 in the
joint male-female draft, No. 25 of 59 wrestlers taken
overall, just one spot behind Dolph Ziggler and two
spots behind The Big Show). Fanene/Jax was selected by
Monday Night Raw.
The only females selected ahead
of Fanene/Jax were WWE Women's Champion Charlotte
(daughter of the legendary Ric Flair, in Round 1, No. 3
overall, also taken by Raw), Sasha Banks (Round 3, 13th
overall, also by Raw) and Becky Lynch (Round 3, 14th
overall, by SmackDown Live). Among female wrestlers
selected after Fanene/Jax were WWE Universe household
names Paige (Round 7, No. 35 overall), Summer Rae (Round
9, No. 44 overall), Eva Marie (Round 10, 51st overall),
Alicia Fox (Round 11, 54th overall) and Dana Brooke
(Round 11, 56th overall).
It's being rumored on
social media that Fanene/Jax will make her WWE
main-roster debut as Sasha Banks' "Mystery Partner"
in a tag-team match vs. Dana Brooke and WWE Women's
Champion Charlotte this Sunday night in the WWE
Battleground 2016 pay-for-view at the Verizon Center
in Washington, D.C.
It has already been announced
that Nia Jax will make her WWE Video Game debut on WWE
2K17 as a pre-order playable character.
(Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's
mother, Ata Mavia-Johnson, is Lina Fanene's aunt.
Fanene's parents are Joseph and Renate Fanene. Her
brother is former Palomar and Fresno State linebacker
Ben Fanene. Lina and Ben Fanene both came to Palomar
from Carlsbad High School.)
2015-16 Season ...
Palomar's five women's basketball
signees, with their coaches, left to right: Mikaela
Shannon, (Texas A&M International), Victoria Stewart
(Presentation College), Assistant Coach Damian Cephas,
Chelse Ayala (Texas A&M International), Head Coach Leigh
Marshall, Tatiana Navarro (Presentation College), Lynnzy
Troxell (Texas A&M International) and Assistant Coach
Chris Kroesch. -- Courtesy Photo
Five Comets accept
scholarships to play at four-year college level
MARCOS (5-12-2016) --
With another Pacific
Coast Athletic Conference championship under her
belt, Palomar women's basketball coach Leigh
Marshall (left) is sending five more scholarship
players on to the four-year college level:
Chelsea Ayala --
Ayala, a 5-foot, 2-inch sophomore guard from
Oceanside High School, has landed a scholarship
to NCAA Division II Texas A&M International
University in Laredo, Texas. The Dustdevils are
coming off a 15-12 season and were 12-6 in the
Heartland Conference. The conference produced
the 2016 Division II national champions, Lubbock
Christian University. Ayala, an All-PCAC
first-team selection, was the leading scorer for
the Comets, averaging 12.2 points in conference
(9.1 points overall), 3.5 rebounds overall, 3.1
assists on the season (3.9 in conference) and
2.0 steals (2.5 in conference).
Lynnzy Troxell --
Troxell, a 6-foot-0 forward from Escondido High
School, also signed with Texas A&M
International. She also was named to the
All-PCAC first team and was a big force inside
for the Comets. Troxell averaged 7.5 points and
a team-leading 7.0 rebounds as Palomar went 24-5
on the season, 13-1 in the PCAC. She averaged
7.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in conference games.
Mikaela Shannon --
Shannon, a 5-foot-10 forward out of Rancho Buena
Vista High School, is the third Comet to accept
a scholarship to Texas A&M International.
Shannon averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds and
was an all-conference second-team selection. In
PCC games, Shannon averaged 6.6 points and 4.4
Victoria Stewart, a
5-foot-4 sophomore guard out of Oceanside High
School, sparked the Comets off the bench to earn
a scholarship to Presentation College, an NAIA
school in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Stewart
overcame a serious knee injury she suffered in
her first season at Palomar. Presentation is
rebuilding after going 6-19 last season but
returns an NAIA All-American honorable mention
selection in guard Haley Froelich.
Tatiana Navarro, who
also sparked the Comets off the bench, also
received a scholarship to Presentation College,
a member of the North Star Athletic Conference.
The power team in the North Star is the
University of Jamestown, which swept unbeaten
through the conference during the 2015-16 season
before losing to Oregon Tech in the NAIA
guard came to Palomar from Vista Murrieta High
Chelsea Ayala scores for Palomar in the third
quarter of Wednesday's regional semifinal game
against Mt. SAC. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Comets can't overcome No. 1 Mounties'
(3-02-2016) -- Palomar will remember the 24-5
season, the 12-game winning streak from Jan. 6 through Feb. 26,
the 59-48 upset OF Mt. San Jacinto that ended the Eagles' 24-0
run one month ago this upcoming Saturday and the Pacific Coast
Athletic Conference co-championship.
Wednesday's 74-56 Southern California
Regional Semifinal loss to No. 1 seed and 31-1 Mt. SAC on the
Mounties floor? That's one night the Comets would just as soon
The Mounties started fast, the Comets
started slowly and the result was fatal as Palomar came back
from a 21-2 deficit after one quarter to outscore Mt. SAC the
rest of the way 54-43, which left coach Leigh Marshall's club 18
Chelse Ayala took game scoring honors
with 15 points, one point more than the Mounties' leading
scorer, Jonnae Vermillion. Allie Israel (left, 13 points) also
scored in double figures for the Comets, and Vinessa Peryman
added eight points.
But Mt. SAC built a 60-23 advantage
on the boards Ayala was the Comets' leading rebounder with six.
For the South Coast North Division champion Mounties, eight
players had at least six rebounds.
On this night, the usual success of
Palomar's full-court pressure defense wasn't enough.
"We turned them over 30 times, but
couldn't overcome (the) massive rebounding deficit," Marshall
Roshell Lamug scores two of her 13
points midway through the first quarter Friday night at The
Dome, putting the Comets up 11-7. Palomar turned back College of
the Canyons 77-54.-- Photo by Hugh Cox
Comets run away from Cougars in
MARCOS (2-26-2016 / 2027-2016) --
Palomar broke open its round 2 game
in the Southern California Community College Women's Basketball
Regionals with a 27-13 second quarter and went on to eliminate
College of the Canyons 77-54 on Friday night in The Dome.
The eighth-seeded Comets (24-4) move
on to the third round at No. 1 seed Mt. SAC (30-1) in Walnut.
The Mounties defeated one of the play-in survivors, Orange
Coast, on Saturday night 78-49.
Canyons (23-6), the No. 9 seed, goes
home. Both teams received first-round byes.
The Comets put 11 players in the
scoring column, led by Roshell Lamug (left,13 points, 3 assists,
4 steals), Regina Sheffield (left, 12 points, 10 rebounds, 4
steals, 3 assists) and Chelse Ayala (right, 10 points). Mikaela
Shannon added 8 points and 7 rebounds, Lynnzy Troxell had 9
points and Vinessa Perryman had 6 points, 6 rebounds and 4
Leading by 17-13 after one quarter,
Palomar opened up a 10-point lead for the first time on
Perryman's bucket with 6:46 left in the half and drew away from
there. Troxell scored 7 of her 9 points in the second period.
PC lands 3 on first team, home to
DIEGO / SAN MARCOS (2-20-2016) -- After landing three
players on the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first team,
the Palomar women's basketball squad will open the Southern
California Community Playoffs at home in The Dome on Friday at 7
The Comets (23-4), the No. 8 seed,
received a bye in Wednesday's round 1 and will be home to the
ninth seed, College of the Canyons (23-5), which also received a
bye, in Friday's second-round game.
Palomar sophomore forward Lynnzy
Troxell (left), sophomore guard Chelse Ayala (right) and
freshman guard Roshell Lamug were named to the All-PCAC first
team selected by conference coaches. Freshman guard Regina
Sheffield and freshman forward Mikaela Shannon were named to the
second team. Mt. San Jacinto forward Britney Thomas received
Player of the Year honors and the Eagles' Chris Mozga was named
Coach of the Year.
If Palomar beats Canyons, the Comets
will play in the third round next Wednesday, March 2, against
either No. 1 seed Mt. SAC (29-1) or the winner of a play-in
round 1 game between No. 16 Orange Coast (15-13) or No. 17 Los
Angeles Valley (14-13) at the home of the higher seed.
The eventual winner of the bracket,
along with the winner of the other SoCal bracket will advance to
the CCCAA State Final Four on March 12-13 at Las Positas College
Palomar’s Alexus Barnes scores on
a put-back in Friday night’s 87-23 blowout of rival MiraCosta on
the road. – Photo by Hugh Cox
PC blitzes MiraCosta 87-32,
ties for PCAC title
OCEANSIDE (2-19-2016) --
Palomar's fourth-ranked women's basketball team finished the
regular season at 23-4 and tied for the Pacific Coast Athletic
Association championship with Mt. San Jacinto at 13-1 on Friday,
flattening MiraCosta 87-32 on the road.
Victoria Stewart, playing her
final regular-season game for Palomar, sparked the Comets to
their 11th win in a row entering the Southern California
"(Stewart) played one of the best
games of her college career tonight," coach Leigh Marshall said.
"She flew around defensively and
was a force on offense. She played incredibly hard."
The Spartans finished a
winless season at 0-23 (0-14 for last place in the conference).
The Southern California seeding
meeting will be Monday.