Despite rallying from 11 points down in the fourth quarter to send it to overtime, the 10th-seeded Pasadena City College women's basketball team couldn't complete the come back against No. 2 East Los Angeles. The Huskies' Alissa Gomez scored 14 of her team's 17 points in the 5-minute extra period as ELAC ended the Lancers season, 70-64, in the third round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs Saturday night.
It was the second straight season that fellow South Coast Conference North Division foe ELAC (28-2) eliminated PCC (21-10) in the third round. The Huskies advance to the CCCAA State Championships next week at Las Positas College. Pasadena was prevented a return trip to the state final 8 after last making it in 2010. ELAC once again is joined by No. 1 seed Mt. San Antonio at the state tourney. Those two teams met in last year's state title game won by Mt. SAC.
Pasadena, the fourth place team from the SCC North, had a deceiving overall record as six of its losses came against the co-conference champions in Mt. SAC and East LA.
"I think we earned some respect tonight," said PCC head coach Joe Peron said. "They got us pretty good here in our last conference meeting (78-49 loss on Feb. 17). When East LA went on a run to start the fourth quarter, I think a lot of people were expecting us to not respond. We played great in that last period, and we were one missed layup from maybe beating them in regulation."
With 6:50 left, Monica Garcia's layup gave the Huskies a commanding 49-38 lead. The Lancers chipped away and tied it, 53-53, with 1:11 left on two free throws by Jolene Robinson. With 20 seconds remaining, Robinson fought through the paint and layed it off the glass but her attempt spun off the front of the rim for an unlucky miss.
In OT, Pasadena briefly took the lead on a free throw by Kandace Payne, 54-53. From that point on, it was the Huskies' Gomez who sank three jumpers and was 8-for-9 from the line that turned things back to ELAC's favor. Gomez finished with a game-high 27 points.
For Pasadena, sophomore center Kailyn Gideon scored 17 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots. Jelissa Puckett added 15 points. Freshman center Alisa Shinn tallied nine points and set a PCC playoff record with 19 rebounds. In the extra session, Puckett, Robinson, Ilianna Blanc, and Samaiyah Abdullah all fouled out.
The Lancers biggest lead was six points, 22-16, during the second quarter. PCC led 31-28 at halftime.
It was only the fourth overtime game (2-2 record) in PCC playoff history under Coach Peron (21st season). His very first OT game was his first coaching playoff back in 1997, a 75-74 win over Rancho Santiago (now Santa Ana College). The others were a 95-93 win in the state quarterfinals over CC San Francisco in 2009 and a 71-64 loss to El Camino in the second round of regionals in 2015.
Ironically, PCC has been eliminated from the playoffs by a SCC team in each of the last four seasons, including by Long Beach in 2014 (third round). Peron is 35-19 in all-time playoff games and 27-13 in SoCal postseason contests.