No opponent has given the Pasadena City College women's basketball team more problems over the years than Mt. San Antonio College. On Wednesday in the South Coast Conference North Division opener, the Lancers lost for the 13th consecutive time over the last 13 years at Mt. SAC, 67-52.
The Lancers (7-7 overall) have often played the state's No. 7 Mounties (15-3) tough and did so for the first three quarters in this encounter. Unranked PCC led 19-16 after one quarter, but early foul trouble on state-leading scorer Lupe Vazquez forced PCC head coach Joe Peron to keep her on the bench for most of the second period.
Mt. SAC limited PCC to just eight points in the second period (Vazquez scored 11 in the opening quarter) and took a 31-27 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Vazquez netted two free throws to put Pasadena within three, 34-31. That's when the Mounties talented 6-foot forward Allyah Cartajena took over. Over the next eight minutes, Cartajena scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds as she sank a jumper at the third quarter buzzer to extend the Mt. SAC lead to 51-41.
PCC never recovered in losing for the sixth consecutive meeting overall between the programs. Mt. SAC upped its current winning streak to eight games while the Lancers are trying to now shake a 4-game losing spell.
Despite playing just 28 minutes, Vazquez still nearly matched her scoring average with a game-high 28 points. She was 10-for-19 from the floor and with Mt. SAC taking away the outside shooting game, the PCC freshman guard made some dazzling plays that resulted in short jumpers and bank shots in the paint.
Center Tatiana Ayala totaled eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocks while Kaniya Hill came off the bench for seven points and three assists. Naomi Turner played well defensively with five steals to go with five rebounds, two assists and two points. Maiya Villanueva had one of her roughest games as a Lancer and scored just seven points. PCC made just 3-for-14 from 3-point range.
For the Mounties, Cartajena finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks. The Mt. SAC deep bench outscored the Lancers reserves, 28-7.
PCC last won at the Mt. SAC Walnut campus back in its state championship season of 2009 by a score of 70-64. It's been four years since the Lancers last won in the series when they handed the Mounties one of their worst losses in their history, 88-51, at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.
Pasadena hopes to get back in the win column on Wednesday, Jan. 26 when it plays at Rio Hondo College in a 7 p.m. conference tilt.