The Pasadena City College women's basketball team went 3-1 and finished a strong third place at the 16-team, College of the Sequoias 40th Gilcrest Invitational Tournament Dec. 1-4. The Lancers won a defensive battle over Ventura, 59-42, in the third place final Sunday as PCC improved to 11-2 this season.
The Lancers led 41-35 going into the fourth quarter but then outscored the Pirates, 14-4, to take a commanding 55-39 lead with two minutes left. Sophomore forward Jolene Robinson scored the team's last 10 points, eight on free throws over the game's final three minutes to seal the victory.
She finished with 14 points (8-for-10 at the line) and four assists as she was named All-Sequoias Tournament. Also making all-tourney was letterman center Kailyn Gideon, who scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the contest.
In the championship semifinals on Saturday, defending state champion Mt. San Antonio won a close battle with the Lancers, 65-57. Midway through the second quarter, frosh center Alisa Shinn hit a layup that gave PCC a 23-19 lead. Mt. SAC (9-1 record) would regain the lead at 31-27 by halftime. Shinn made two free throws that tied it 33-33 early in the third quarter but the Mounties took control from that point on.
Robinson scored 15 points as did Blanc, who added seven rebounds and three assists. Shinn tallied 12 points and eight rebounds. Pasadena shot well from the free throw line (17-for-22), making 77.3 percent of its shots. Kali Jones and Aliyah Dickson (9-for-9 on free throws) each scored 15 points to lead Mt. SAC.
In the quarterfinals on Friday, the Lancers won a thriller in overtime over San Joaquin Delta, 60-57. With just two seconds left, Briana Hayles missed the front end of two free throws, then made the second that allowed Delta to send it to OT at 52-52.
The Mustangs took a 57-54 lead but Vanessa Zamora drained a 3-pointer with two minutes remaining to tie it. With 1:07 to go, Gideon made the game-winning basket on a layup. Both Gideon and Zamora had steals in the final minute that helped the Lancers finish on top.
Shinn came off the bench to score 13 points and grab 16 rebounds while Blanc had nine points and nine boards. Also in reserve was center Raquel Jones with eight points and eight rebounds. Delta was led by Brittany Butler with 26 points.
PCC opened the tourney with a 93-68 rout over Porterville as Shinn scored 19 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked five shots. Shinn, who added three assists, was 8-for-11 from the field. Gideon was 7-for-9 as part of her 16 points and Blanc also scored 16 with six rebounds. Zamora added nine points and Bridget Phu tallied eight. Puckett dished out 11 assists and made three steals to go with six points. The Lancers outrebounded Porterville, 49-28.
"I think people knew that really the championship game was our semi v. Mt. SAC," said PCC head coach Joe Peron. "That was the first time we really ran with them, and stayed close with them since maybe going back to our state championship year (2009).
"We can match them with a tall lineup. We played some really good teams in Delta and Ventura too, so this was a big tourney for us to establish where we are as a high-ranked team. Gideon and Shinn gave us some really good defense in the post. Robinson is playing consistent, all-around. Both Kailyn and Jolene have improved tremendously from their freshman to sophomore seasons. You can see the maturity on the floor sky-rocketing too for each."
Next up for the Lancers is the College of the Desert Winter Classic Dec. 15-17. PCC opens with a game v. Victor Valley on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.
[Photo--Jolene Robinson in action at a home game earlier this season.]