SACRAMENTO -- The Bishop O'Dowd High girls will not be lacking in motivation Saturday at the state basketball championships.
In addition to playing in the inaugural Open Division girls championship at 6 p.m. at Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena, the Dragons (29-3) will be facing the only California team that has beaten them this season -- Windward-Los Angeles, which is 32-0 this season.
"My team has a little chip on their shoulder," O'Dowd's Oderah Chidom said.
That chip comes from the 58-43 loss to Windward at the Oaks Christian Tournament championship game on Dec. 29, a performance which Bishop O'Dowd coach Malik McCord talks about in no uncertain terms.
"It was an embarrassment what we looked like when we played the last time," he said. "I really felt like (the Dragons) got to the championship and they left their effort at the hotel. I did not recognize my team at all.
"They are really looking forward to playing their game and playing to the best of their abilities."
McCord also said that Windward "shot the lights out" and pointed out the awesome play of its point guard, Jordin Canada. Windward coach Vanessa Nygaard, a former Stanford star, remembered the conditions surrounding the game.
"It was the fourth game of a four-day tournament, a really tough tournament. I remember both of our teams being very fatigued," she said. "I was really surprised that we pulled out the win on them, they are such a great team and have such great senior leadership."
McCord also calls the loss a blessing.
"If we had won the game, things that needed to be addressed wouldn't have been addressed," he said.
One move he made was inserting 6-foot-4 Breanna Brown into the starting lineup, giving the Dragons a starting frontcourt of two 6-foot-4 players and one 6-foot-2 player.
Since that game, O'Dowd has a 23-0 record with 21 of those wins by double-digits, the closest margin was six.
There has been talk that Bishop O'Dowd is the best Bay Area high school girls basketball team ever.
Nygaard takes that one step further.
"I've heard some people say they are the best team ever from Northern California," she said. "They have the size of a college team, they have great guard play."
But McCord isn't paying attention to comparisons involving his team.
"I don't pay it any mind," he said. "It's a compliment to the squad, but there have been a lot of great teams."