Short-Handed Women's Cagers Endure Rough Patch At SJCC

Lancers Samia Dinniene (15) and Tatiana Ayala (25) were two of just six players available for the San Jose City College Tournament this week.
Lancers Samia Dinniene (15) and Tatiana Ayala (25) were two of just six players available for the San Jose City College Tournament this week.

Playing without three starters due to various reasons including both family winter break obligations and COVID-19 protocols, the Pasadena City College women's basketball team had truly a skeleton crew at the San Jose City College Jaguar Classic Dec. 27-28. The results were hardly indicative of a full-strength Lancers squad, including suffering the program's worst loss in 25 seasons under head coach Joe Peron.

On Dec. 27, Chabot took advantage of facing a 6-player, Lancers squad in a 107-44 rout. Chabot drained 16 shots from 3-point land and created 25 points directly off of PCC turnovers. The 63-point loss broke the previous high in losing margin, a 103-53 loss to Ventura in the 2002 Southern California Regional Playoffs. This defeat also came just nine days after the team lost by 40 to state #7-ranked Moorpark. That means the program's two most lopsided regular season losses occured in consecutive games. 

Despite the nightmare setbacks, PCC kept things close before losing to College of the Redwoods, 81-59. PCC trailed only 65-56 as late as 5:40 left in the game, but fatigue set in as Redwoods went on a 16-3 run to close it out. Emily Trinh led the Lancers with her season-high of 19 points, making at one point six straight shots from the field to finish 8-for-14 on field goal attempts. Samia Dinniene had her best game, producing 16 points, 13 rebounds and three steals. Center Tatiana Ayala added 11 points and 16 rebounds while Naomi Turner, filling at point guard, tallied 13 points and seven assists. 

Unfortunately for PCC, a tough team free throw shooting performance negated a strong offensive effort. The Lancers made just 8-for-32 (25 percent) from the line and it allowed Redwoods to maintain a larger lead throughout the contest. 

In the Chabot loss, PCC actually led 3-2 before the Gladiators went on a 30-2 run. Turner led the Lancers with 15 points, five assists and four steals. Trinh added 11 points and six rebounds while Ayala contributed eight points and 14 rebounds. Dinniene was strong on the offensive boards with seven of her nine rebounds as she scored eight points. Chaundra Nestor, the only sub for the team, chipped in two points and nine rebounds. 

Also in the two games, guard-forward Annie Lay, a setter from the Lancers South Coast Conference champion women's volleyball team, totaled seven assists, seven rebounds and four steals and averaged 33 minutes of playing time. 

A Lancers opportunity to win at San Jose was taken away as health/safety protocols involving another team at the tournament forced a cancellation of their Wednesday scheduled game v. Contra Costa.

"I'm proud of the six players because they were all put in a very tough situation," Peron said. "We had no choice but to put Naomi at point guard and she's been a forward for us. We had some part-time reserves playing almost entire games. It might look bad on the scoreboard, but players received valuable playing time they never would have gotten out of neccesity. The effort was there and we had some really good stretches of play v. Redwoods."

Pasadena, ranked No. 15 in the most recent SoCal Regional Coaches Poll, is 7-6 overall. On Friday, Jan. 7, the Lancers bring in the year 2022 in playing at Cerritos College as part of the South Coast Conference Crossover Challenge Tournament. Tip-off is 7 p.m.