In a see-sawing battle, the women’s basketball team overcame a top 10 state ranked team for the first time this season by defeating the El Camino Warriors in a thrilling 70-66 overtime victory in a non-conference game at Hutto-Pattinson gym.

PCC holds a 26-2 record over South Coast-South conference leaders El Camino and the last time these teams met on November 15 in the 1st Honda Pasadena Classic, the Warriors prevailed by seven points.

The 17th-ranked Lady Lancers were a skeleton of their usual selves in the opening stanza due to ineffective shooting, sloppy passes and costly turnovers that allowed ECCC to grind its way to a 17-8 lead after 14 minutes.

The overall standard of play was erratic at best, with the Warriors leading 26-15 at the break not due to a solid performance, but because they didn’t play as poorly as the home team.

It was a tale of contrasting halves, as the Lancers came out after half-time looking like a completely different unit. They brought an elevated intensity and a more penetrative offense thanks to Freshman Regerina Baker completing a three point play, putting the Lancers in the lead 35-34 with 11 minutes left.

Baker combined with fellow freshman Judith Espinoza to lift the Lady Lancers from a deep hole by orchestrating an offense that had no other support. Baker topped all scorers with 28 points and Espinoza chimed in with 26 points.

ECC sunk a pair of treys with only minutes remaining, which contributed to the game going into overtime with both teams level at 56-56.

Espinoza lauded Baker for her standout shooting and was thankful to her coaches for some timely coaching tips. But she was comfortable with having the ball in her hands when the game is on the line.

“In the first half I knew I wasn’t being myself and honestly, coach Kim Smith and coach Gary Potts helped me and told me to relax and breathe and shoot like I do at practice,” said Espinoza. “I think Rege was Rege when we needed her. She came back and that was really important, she is really a key player and she played the way Rege was supposed to play.”

“Because I’m one of the leaders I really feel like I have to help my team mates keep the enthusiasm up and just keep the game under control,” Espinoza added.

Espinoza was fouled several times in OT, which forced her to the charity stripe and she held her nerve by nailing all attempts and leading the Lady Lancers to a memorable 70-66 win.

Coach Joe Peron was relieved his team pulled through a tough first-half and beat a top 10 opponent for the first time this season. He reserved special praise for Baker and Espinoza’s match-winning contributions.

“Don’t we make it difficult,” Peron said tongue-in-cheek. “First of all, I’m glad we won. We finally beat a team in the top 10, thank God.”

Pasadena improves to 15-7 and will face Cerritos in an away non-conference game on Friday at 7 pm.

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