Tashara Pruett has not graduated from college yet, but the 24-year-old Lompoc native has a de facto degree in time management.

The Hancock College sophomore is a mother, a student, a basketball player and a wage earner.

First and foremost, she is a mother. "Being a mom takes up most of my time," said Pruett, who has a 5-year-old daughter, Anayah.

Juggling motherhood, basketball, work and school "is pretty stressful, but I get through it," Pruett said.

Pruett said she wants to make nursing her career. "My family on my dad's (Deon Gibbons') side are nurses, and that's where the interest comes from for me."

The 2012 Lompoc High School graduate said she has a CNA licence. "I work in elderly care five hours a day, 25 hours a week," Pruett said. "I do the work at patients' homes."

Her responsibilities for Cary Nerelli's Hancock women's team are the same as they were for Claudia Terrones' Lompoc High teams - to be a scoring and rebounding presence inside.

The Hancock sophomore said that after she graduated from Lompoc, she went to Arizona Western College, a community college bssed in Yuma, and intended to play basketball there.

"I didn't like it, and I came back home," Pruett said.      

Pruett does a lot of the rough-and-tumble work for the Bulldogs in the lane, just as she did for the Lompoc Braves when she was in high school.

"It's tougher now than it was in high school. but I manage," Pruett said.

She chuckled. "I'm 24, and I feel like I'm the old lady among these girls."

At Lompoc her senior year, she averaged 10 points and 10.6 rebounds (far and away, tops on the team in the rebounding department).

Her numbers in her second basketball stint at Hancock (9-10, 1-3 Western State Conference North Division) aren't quite as good, but they are pretty solid - 7.9 points and 7.1 rebounds a game.

Pruett is second on the team in rebounds to guard Danielle Morgan, Terrones' daughter. Morgan averages 7.2 rebounds a game.

Pruett played for Nerelli as a freshman in Hancock's 2014-15 campaign. She carried at least as big a workload outside motherhood, school and basketball then as she does now. Besides holding the same job she does now, Pruett said she worked at the Chumash Casino.

She said she quit working at the casino in 2017. Pruett decided to return to school, and basketball, for the 2018-19 school year.

"It took the summer and the fall for me to get back in basketball shape," Pruett acknowledged.

Because of outside work that has kept her class load down somewhat, Pruett said, it will take her another year at Hancock after this semester to earn her Associate of Arts Degree.

"If I get an offer somewhere to play basketball after this season, I'll take it," said Pruett.

If her competitive basketball days are done after this season, "It's no big deal," Pruett said.

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