Fourth Quarter Push Gives Women's Basketball Round 1 Playoff Win

Crystal Smith made two key 3-pointers in the playoff win (photo by Richard Quinton).
Crystal Smith made two key 3-pointers in the playoff win (photo by Richard Quinton).

The sophomore trio of Antuanae Garrett, Vanessa Epperson and Crystal Smith willed the #14-seeded Pasadena City College women's basketball team to rally past a tough #19 LA Valley squad, 67-61, Wednesday night in Southern California Regional Round 1 game.

Played before a large Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium crowd that included PCC Interim Superintendent-President Jose A. Gomez, the Lancers (18-10 record) trailed at one point by nine points in the second quarter, then cut it to 34-33 at halftime. LAVC would build its lead to 49-43 after three quarters.

In the fourth period, the Lancers responded by doubling the score on the Monarchs, 24-12, as "Twin" Garrett scored nine points and had six rebounds in the quarter. Garrett drilled a 3-pointer to tie at 57-57, then Epperson was fouled on a 3-point make and hit the ensuing free throw for a 4-point play that gave PCC a 62-57 advantage with 3:33 left.

With 2:15 remaining, LA Valley (14-15) cut it to one, 62-61, on a Gizelle Moreno layup, but PCC put things away behind a rebound and basket by Abigail Saville and two late free throws by Epperson. 

Garrett nearly had a triple-double as she scored 20 points, grabbed 11 boards and dished out eight assists. 

A 6-foot center, Smith had given PCC a big boost with her season high of 14 points, including a surprising two 3-point bombs, to go with nine rebounds and three blocks. She scored almost 10 more points than her season average (4.4). 

Epperson, who scored 15 points with nine rebounds and three assists, helped change the game in a shut-down defensive performance in the second half against LAVC top scorer Mary Corbett. The freshman Corbett scored 16 points in the first half, draing four treys, but Epperson guarded her close and prevented the sharp shooter from getting open over the last 20 minutes in holding her to no points. 

Saville, a freshman gaurd, added 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals while frosh guard Lamia Daley, who fought through early foul trouble, contributed six points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. 

Forward Samantha Maldonado was a force for LA Valley, scoring a game-high 21 points with 14 rebounds. 

All five Lancers starters made at least one 3-pointer as the team made 41 percent from the long range, 9-for-22 attempts. LAVC got just the four threes by Corbett.

The Lancers will take a short trip down the 134 freeway west as it will face #3 seed Glendale College on Saturday, Mar. 2 in Round 2 of the regionals. Game time is 7 p.m.