Women's Cagers Slump At Wrong Time

Daniela Mendez' late basket was PCC's final points in a 55-51 loss at Mt. San Antonio College Friday evening, photo by Richard Quinton.
Daniela Mendez' late basket was PCC's final points in a 55-51 loss at Mt. San Antonio College Friday evening, photo by Richard Quinton.

Only in the South Coast Conference North Division can a team face three state top 10 opponents in a week's span. For the No. 7-rated Pasadena City College women's basketball team, its trip through the division has been a rocky one. On Friday night, the Lancers lost their third straight to a high-ranked team as Mt. San Antonio continued its home mastery over PCC, 55-51, and extended their home winning streak v. Pasadena teams to now 11 in a row.

The last time PCC defeated Mt. SAC on the road was in its state championship season of 2009. After losses to #4 East Los Angeles, #6 LA Trade Tech and the #10 Mounties, the Lancers are 16-6 overall and 1-3 in the state's most top-heavy conference of powers. Mt. SAC is 17-6 and 3-1, tied for second with LA Trade Tech in second place. East LA leads the mighty SCC North at 4-0.

The Lancers offense has struggled against the tight defenses of their SCC opponents. The matchup of PCC's state #3 defense and Mt. SAC's #7 defense predictably kept the score down. In the first half, PCC grabbed a 25-23 with Cosette Balmy scoring eight points in the first quarter and Dariel Johnson picking up seven points in the second period. 

In the third quarter, the Mounties went on an 8-2 run, but the Lancers only trailed by one, 33-32, when Jade Lin netted a 3-pointer midway through the period. At that point, Mt. SAC posted a 10-2 spurt capped on a trey by Natalia Shpegel. Mt. San Antonio doubled the score on PCC in the quarter, 22-11.

In the fourth quarter, the Lancers battled back and whittled a 9-point Mt. SAC lead to two, 53-51, on a layup by Daniela Mendez with 33 seconds left. PCC missed a pair of 3-point attempts in the final seconds that sealed the defeat.

Balmy scored a game-high 15 points while Johnson bounced back from her rough outing v. Trade Tech on Wednesday by scoring 14 points, grabbing 20 rebounds and blocking four shots. Mendez tallied 10 points and Zaira Velasquez totaled four points, six rebounds and team-high five assists. Off the bench, center Teana DuBose scored five points with two rebounds, two blocks and two assists.

Some of PCC's issues of late is its poor shooting from both the free throw line and from beyond 3-point distance. In the 3-game losing streak, the team shot under 50 percent from the line in each contest (23-for-50 overall). In the past two games, the team is just 6-for-40 (15 percent) outside the long-range circle. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 6, the Lancers hope to get back into the winning column as they host Chaffey College in a 7 p.m. tip-off at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium (following the men's game at 5 p.m.).