Double-Doubles Highlight State #23 Women's Basketball 7-2 Season Start

Lamia MJ Daley was MVP of the Santa Ana Tourney (photo by Richard Quinton).
Lamia MJ Daley was MVP of the Santa Ana Tourney (photo by Richard Quinton).

It's double-double delight for the Pasadena City College women's basketball team, which completed a 3-0 run at the round-robin, Santa Ana Tournament Nov. 30-Dec. 2. The Lancers improved to 7-2 as they moved up two spots to #23 in this week's State Top 25 Coaches Rankings.

In the team's three wins at the Santa Ana Tournament, the Lancers had three players reach double-doubles in points and rebounds in both of its wins over Bakersfield, 78-71, and then an 81-73 overtime decision over San Diego Mesa.

Against Bakersfield, center Crystal Smith was just two points shy of putting four different players in the double-double category, and then Abigail Saville was two boards away from that happening again v. Mesa.

Also Coach Joe Peron's crew incrementally put together their three highest scoring games of the season thus far at Santa Ana, including a 2023-24 season-high in a 94-50 rout over Porterville in the tourney finale.

Lamia Daley was named MVP of the SAC Tourney with Saville also was selected to the All-SAC Tournament Team. 

"MJ Daley and Abby are just putting up great numbers as freshmen," Peron said. "Really, though, we have five players that have consistently created offense. We aren't relying on just one big scorer, like some of the other top teams. Then, we have different components in our overall game, some who are strong defenders, some great passers, and all can grab rebounds.

"This is a special group, far different than our recent seasons where we either had one great rebounder or one great scorer. The variety makes it harder for opponents to isolate defensively or double-team one player."

Against Bakersfield, the Lancers trailed 35-32 into halftime, and after some lead changes, the 10th tie of the contest occurred at 68-68 on two free throws by the Renegades' Sydni Morris with 1:36 left. Antuanae Garrett hit a jumper, Saville completed a basket-and-one, and Vanessa Epperson sank 5-for-6 on free throws to seal the hard-fought victory.

Saville scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Daley collected 19 points, 16 boards, seven assists, four steals and two blocks in a giant performance, "Twin" Garrett added 12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals, and Epperson tallied 18 points, six boards, three assists and three steals. Smith picked up eight points and 11 rebounds. The Lancers shot extremely well at the free throw line, making 18-of-23 attempts (78.3 percent).

In the Mesa OT win, PCC led 19-17, then fell behind 33-25 after two quarters. The Lancers trailed by 11, then cut it to seven, 48-41, going into the fourth period. Daley sank two free throws to finally regain the PCC lead at 63-62 with 3:09 remaining. With 17 seconds left, the Olympians' Reese Hohenthaner made two free throws that sent the game to a 5-minute overtime period at 67-67.

In the overtime, a Garrett layup gave Pasadena the lead for good at 71-69, but it was a surprising corner 3 by Smith with 2:53 to go that was the ultimate signature points on the 7-point victory.

The starting five played virtually all 45 minutes save for seven minutes off the bench by Jessica Lopez. Daley led the way with 24 points, 10 rebounds and four assists followed by Saville's 22 points and eight boards. Garrett contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals while Smith picked up 11 points and 10 rebounds. Epperson added five points and five assists.

In the high-scoring Porterville victory, PCC went on a 23-8 spurt during the first half, then doubled the score on the Pirates, 48-24, by halftime. Unlike the first two games, the Lancers had an easy time over the final two quarters. 

Daley poured in 25 points, dished out six assists with five boards while Garrett also netted 25 points with 10 rebounds and four assists. Saville pumped in 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals and Epperson scored 18 points with four steals. Smith added five points and eight rebounds while Jordyn Finley hit a 3-pointer with four rebounds off the bench.

This Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9, the Lancers return to Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium to host the PCC-Grand Canyon Crossover Tournament. The 4-team tourney has PCC playing v. NorCal's Merritt College (Oakland) on Friday at 2 p.m., then face Shasta (Redding) in a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday. Shasta plays Citrus at 4 p.m. on Friday and then plays Merritt at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Grand Canyon University helped sponsor the tourney.