Rare Down Season For Women's Cagers

Emily Trinh in action during a recent Lancers game (photo by Michael Watkins, PCC Athletics).
Emily Trinh in action during a recent Lancers game (photo by Michael Watkins, PCC Athletics).

COVID-19 Aftermath 1, Pasadena City College women's basketball 0. Although not a real score, it's one way to describe the 2021-2022 season for a Lancers program that had previously set a standard for consistency in winning and making the postseason.

A season lost due to the worldwide health pandemic (2020-2021 season cancelled), practice schedules altered often due to COVID-19 protocols in place, and an Omicron strain-related surge that caused a 3-week stoppage of play and practices at PCC ultimately left its toll on the Lancers. Injuries and COVID-19-related absences turned the team's 9-player roster into sometimes a band of five available. 

Pasadena closed out its toughest season ever in 25 seasons under head coach Joe Peron, finishing 8-16 overall, placing fifth in the South Coast Conference North Division at 1-7 and losing a remarkable 13 of its last 14 games. The Lancers streak of postseason appearances ended at 19 years. The eight victories are the lowest in Peron's tenure and since his first season as head coach in 1996-97 when the team finished 12-14, but reached the SoCal Regional Playoffs.

The team's lack of success was at least offset by some strong individual performances, especially that of state-leading scorer Lupe Vazquez, who averaged a PCC record 27.8 points a game. Vazquez, who played in 21 games overall, was the fastest to ever reach 500 points at the college and she produced six of the 12 highest-scoring games in Lancers history. Her high was 44 points, second-highest at PCC, in a Dec. 2 win over MiraCosta. 

In the regular season, Vazquez finished fifth in the state in 3-pointers made (82), sixth in total field goals made (196), eighth in total free throws made (109) and had an efficient 79 percent accuracy from the line. She also averaged 9.2 rebounds and a team-high 3.1 assists. On Nov. 11, she tied the PCC single-game record for 3-pointers with 10 v. Imperial Valley and she had a perfect 10-for-10 free throw shooting performance v. Antelope Valley on Dec. 17. 
Other standouts included Maiya Villanueva, who appeared in 20 games and averaged 13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Villanueva was second on the team in total 3-point baskets with 63, including a season-best eight in the team's season finale v. El Camino on Friday night (27 points). 
Naomi Turner, the only player to play in all 24 games, came on strong later in the season and averaged 8.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. She scored her career-high of 25 points in the season final. 

Kaniya Hill, the only sophomore on the team, averaged 7.7 points and led the team in steals at 2.5 per contest. Hill scored her career-high of 20 points in an early-season win over Porterville. Tatiana Ayala, the team's center, averaged 4 points and led the team in rebounding (10.5 per game) and blocked shots (1.4 average). Emily Trinh averaged 4.8 points and 6.6 rebounds as a regular forward. Annie Lay, a later addition from the women's volleyball team, served as an able reserve forward in eight games played.