Women's Cagers Runner-Up At San Jose Tournament

Lancers point guard Cosette Balmy fires a pass during a home game last month.
Lancers point guard Cosette Balmy fires a pass during a home game last month.

The Pasadena City College women's basketball team settled for second place at the San Jose City College Lady Jaguar Invitational held Dec. 27-29. The Lancers, currently No. 5 in state RPI, lost to the North's No. 1 and state #2 Merced in the tourney final, 68-56.

The Lancers are 12-3 overall going into the new year. Merced (14-2) was led by Jada Johnson, who scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the final. All-Tournament selection and center Dariel Johnson paced PCC with 17 points, 12 rebounds as she added to her state-leading blocked shots total with five. Johnson is third in the state in rebounding at 14.6 average and her 63 blocks (4.2 average) tops everyone in California.

Freshman point guard Cosette Balmy, another All-SJCC Tournament choice, added 12 points and four steals in the finale. This was the first meeting between the two colleges since PCC head coach Joe Peron started here in 1996.

In the semifinals, Johnson grabbed a season-high 25 rebounds and tallied 11 points in a 65-50 win over Chabot. The sophomore is just the fourth player in PCC history to reach 25 boards in a contest. Alisa Shinn did it twice just last season. The school record for rebounds was set by Cheryl Taulton with 28 in a 1987 game v. El Camino.

Also in the Chabot victory, Balmy had a strong all-around game on 23 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds. Melissa Felix drained a trio of treys as part of her 11 points.

In the SJCC tournament opener, PCC got by Fresno City College, 57-54. Balmy scored 14 points and Daniela Mendez scored 10 points. Johnson had nine points and 15 rebounds. Kailey Thai added eight points.

The Lancers begin 2019 in facing a much-improved program in Glendale, 11-2 overall and recently had a 9-game win streak stopped by state RPI #4 El Camino. The game is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 4 at PCC's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. Tip-off is 7 p.m. following the men's game against LA Southwest at 5 p.m. 

The Vaqueros and Lancers are currently No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in state team defense. Glendale has allowed 50.5 points per contest while PCC is at 51.2.