Women's Cagers Push 2 SCC North Stalwarts, But Go 0-2 To Open Conference

Lancer Mercy Odima goes up for a shot attempt during PCC's loss at East Los Angeles College, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Mercy Odima goes up for a shot attempt during PCC's loss at East Los Angeles College, photo by Richard Quinton.

There are no medals for playing close or taking leads in women's basketball. And while state unranked Pasadena City College gave great efforts against state No. 11 East Los Angeles and No. 12 LA Trade Tech, the Lancers are 0-2 after the first week of another difficult tour called the South Coast Conference North Division schedule.

The Lancers (rated No. 15 in SoCal) had to play catch-up at Trade Tech Friday night, trailing 21-13 after one quarter and 45-34 by halftime. Still, PCC battled and despite trailing by 13 in the third quarter came roaring back to cut it to 58-56 on a Mercy Odima basket with under a minute left in the period. In the fourth quarter, Merina Latu swished a pair of 3-point bombs, the second that cut it to 72-70 with 4:58 left. But LATT, featuring one of its strongest teams in the last decade, turned to Cheyenne Mckinnie who scored two baskets and added four free throws down the stretch as PCC took its third straight loss, 88-77.

Trade Tech (15-5, 2-0 in conference) relied on Mckinnie's 32 points and were propelled by Deejanae Poland who totaled 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. The Lancers (12-10 overall) once again were paced by letterman All-SCC forward Alisa Shinn, who netted 25 points, 15 rebounds and blocked her season-high five shots. All five PCC starters reached double figures in scoring with Latu, Jade Lin (plus six assists) and Odima adding 11 points each and Samaiyah Abdullah with 10 points. Odima had her sixth straight double-double, pulling down 12 rebounds before fouling out with five minutes to go in the game. 

One big brightspot off the bench was late-season add guard Jacquelyn Luna, who provided nine points and five rebounds and sparked the team in a third-quarter 12-3 run. 

On Wednesday at ELAC, PCC jumped to a 14-3 lead and led 37-29 by halftime thanks to a brilliant first half by Shinn. After the 6-foot-3 sophomore missed her first field goal attempt, she burned the net on her next 10 consecutive shots. By halftime, she had 22 points and had grabbed eight rebounds while shutting down Huskies' center Monica Garcia on defense. 

Early foul trouble sent Shinn to the bench as she missed most of the half while ELAC whittled away at PCC's lead. The Huskies took the only lead change of the entire game with 2:28 left in the third quarter, 44-43. Garcia scored 14 of her team-high 18 points in the second half as PCC suffered a 64-56 defeat. Another big factor for ELAC was the play of Dominique Godbolt, who scored 13 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and made four of the Huskies' 15 steals. PCC committed 14 of its 24 turnovers in the second half.

Only four times in PCC head coach Joe Peron's first 21 seasons did he have a player grab 20 rebounds. Odima (four) and Shinn (two) have combined to do it six times just this season. 

Shinn has reached 750 points in her Lancers career and passed Donna Gordon (1995-97, 743 points) for now No. 18 on the all-time scoring list. Shinn is averaging 19 points a game. She is on a pace to pass the 900-point mark and climb as high as the top 7. 

Odima scored 10 points and for the fourth time in her freshman season totaled 20 or more rebounds with an even 20 (season best 13 on the defensive end). 

PCC hosts 2-time defending state champion Mt. San Antonio on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Tip-off is 5 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.