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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

From sidelined to headlined

Sage Bridges-Bey led the team in minutes per game
Gustavo Hernandez
Sage Bridges-Bey, a San Francisco State University women’s basketball player, poses in the Gymnasium on Thursday, March 21, 2024. Bridges-Bay recently received AII CCAA honors. (Gustavo Hernandez / Golden Gate Express)

Through adversity and pain, Sage Bridges-Bey mustered up an honorable mention for All-CCAA in her inaugural season with San Francisco State University’s women’s basketball.

Bridges-Bey, a junior guard, started 22 out of the 27 games possible and put together a season that earned her recognition across the entire conference. Prior to her arrival at SFSU, she played at California State University, Bakersfield, but due to injuries, she did not get her desired playing time.

Bridges-Bey noted a distinction in both play style and intensity within the California Collegiate Athletic Association. She discussed how this season served as an opportunity for her to familiarize herself with the conference dynamics and operational intricacies. 

“I will just say, this conference is way more grittier than from my times playing at Bakersfield — everyone’s really ‘dog-like’; it’s really who shows up on that day,” Bridges-Bey said.

The transition to a different conference was something that Bridges-Bey had to adapt to. She was grateful to have been  given an honorable mention but still feels there is work to do. In her first season with the Gators she averaged 12.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.

“I am so particularly hard on myself, so I felt like it was ‘okay’ — you see where I am at, the fact that this was my first year in the conference, being that I am a transfer,” Bridges-Bey said. “I do appreciate the recognition of the CCAA honorable mention.”

After a season of adapting to the conference, head coach Natasha Smith knows the hard work Bridges-Bey will put into taking the next step forward.

“Next year, she is going to have the biggest chip on her shoulder and be a real problem for the conference to handle, because we know in her personality, she is a high achiever who felt like she worked to be better than just an honorable mention,” Smith said. “Even though she appreciates the recognition, she feels in her heart and mind that she is a top 20 player in the conference.”

Smith talked about not only the basketball player she was getting, but also the personality and discipline Bridges-Bey displayed on a day-to-day basis. She was impressed by her abilities as a basketball player and also by how great of a person she was.

However, it was not all clear skies for Bridges-Bey throughout her collegiate career. She dealt with injuries during her time at CSU Bakersfield and had to build her confidence back up to where it needed to be for her success.

“It was terrible; I was spiraling — honestly, I will openly say I was going through a deep depression because it is  very political in sports, and you kind of have to know how to gauge if you are hurt,” Bridges-Bey said. “You know, the coaches, it’s their livelihood — they have to move on and pick the next player, so you see that and it honestly does take your confidence away as well.”

Through all the pain, Bridges-Bey had a support system that uplifted her when she needed it the most. Her mother and father were a huge source of support for Bridges-Bey; she also mentioned how much her boyfriend supported her throughout her struggles. 

While recovering, Bridges-Bey’s move to SFSU was a transition in the right direction — she went from limited action at CSU Bakersfield to starting 22 out of 27 games at SFSU. 

After suffering several injuries, none of this was enough to stop Bridges-Bey from continuing her journey to playing the game, but she knew that it was a tough road back to being herself.

“It definitely is hard to kind of get your swag back. Once you get injured your body never really [is] the same — your movements, your thinking, and your development too, with just trying to get your confidence back,” Bridges-Bey said. “I think that’s a big key aspect in any athlete; you must have confidence in yourself —  if you don’t have any confidence, you’re nothing.”

Her raw personality has been shown, and her teammates have noticed it. One story especially stood out to junior guard teammate Samaria Velazquez.

“One thing about Sage is that she is very clumsy —  whether it’s in my practice or in a game, you will see her running and then the next thing she’s on the floor; she will literally trip over her own foot,” Velazquez said. “There was one time she came to the bench and the whole chair collapsed on her.”

Her all-around game was something Coach Smith recognized right away; Smith admired Bridges-Bey’s skill set.

“She came on a visit last year and right away I could tell she was a hooper; there’s so many intangible things about her game that you just know when you have someone special,” Coach Smith said. “You could tell that she’s put a lot of reps in, in the gym by herself throughout her time.”

Bridges-Bey’s play style is versatile, so it can attack a defense in different ways. 

“I feel like Sage is a unique player; you don’t know whether she’s gonna pull up or blow right past you —she has a lot of speed,” Velazquez said. “I feel like this conference is really good for her, because there’s so many different angles and different things that people bring to the table; she’s definitely somebody to look out for, especially next season.”

Bridges-Bey’s goals for next season are very straightforward and to the point. 

“Definitely getting into the CCAA conference tournament and definitely being All First Team, if not then, Player of the Year,” Bridges-Bey said. “Those two are my goals and I definitely think they are achievable.”

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About the Contributors
Arman Archouniani
Arman Archouniani, Sports Editor
Arman Archouniani (he/him) is the sports editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in media literacy. He was born and raised in Daly City and enjoys living in the area. As a kid, his dream was to become a professional athlete. Arman loves his local sports teams such as the Golden State Warriors, the San Francisco 49ers, and the San Francisco Giants. He was previously the sports editor for The Skyline View at Skyline College. His dream now is to become a sports analyst for a major sports media company.
Gustavo Hernandez
Gustavo Hernandez, Photographer
Gustavo Hernandez (he/him) is a staff photographer for golden gate xpress. He is double majoring in journalism (photojournalism) and BECA. He currently lives in a San Francisco where you can catch him dodging potholes on his white Vespa. He has contributed freelance photo stories for Mission Local with the ambition for more future published works.

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