The Lancers women’s basketball team squandered a double-digit lead they held for most of the championship game on Sunday and fell to Long Beach City College 62-57.
Playing on their own home court was a big part of Pasadena’s 46-point win against Imperial Valley College on Friday and 53-point win against Pierce on Saturday. The home court played little advantage in the final game, as Long Beach fans’ noise echoed in the gymnasium during the entire 40 minutes of the game.
Pasadena played their game perfectly in the first three quarters despite the Vikings’ usual full-court pressure, and was able to draw all of the fouls they needed to get to the free throw line. The Lancers had LBCC in the penalty every quarter of the game but couldn’t take advantage in the final quarter.
Assistant coach Gary Potts stepped into the head coaching spot while head coach Joe Peron is suspended and has led the team to a 3-1 record to start the season.
“Knowing they would do a full court press and knowing they would jump on first passes, one of the things we worked on is fake the first pass and go to the second pass but we didn’t do that. They got fast break points from that,” Potts said. “The other key component we did in the first half that we didn’t do in the second half is shutting them down at the three-point line. In the second half, they started getting threes. We knew once they start knocking down threes, they would put in their post players and go back to their normal offense.”
With less than nine minutes left in the game, sophomore sharpshooter Krystin Nakamura made a three-pointer to keep their lead in the double digits. Within four minutes, the Vikings went on a 12-0 run and the lead went to one point.
Pasadena continued to fight but the Vikings defense didn’t give up the pressure seeing that the game was almost in their grasp.
Sophomore point guard Judith Espinoza finished the game with 13 points and seven assists but had 10 turnovers.
“We could’ve attacked the basket more … In the second half, they changed their defense to a 1-2-2 to get the ball out of my hands and Ella’s,” Espinoza said. “There was a lot of pressure up top and it got to the point where someone else had to take the ball up. I think this experience is good for them for the future championship games we plan to play in.”
Freshman forward Ella Stepanian scored double-digit points in each game of the tournament and finished with 18 points on Sunday. Freshman center Kailyn Gideon also made her mark during the tournament and finished with 14 rebounds, with six on the offensive side.
Red-shirt freshman Illianna Blanc was disappointed in the outcome on Sunday and said she just didn’t play well. She finished the game with three points, in comparison to Friday’s 13 points and Saturday’s eight points.
“[Coach Potts] told us to calm our game down because we were playing up to their pace and that we really just needed to play our game,” Blanc said.
On Friday the Lancers defeated Imperial Valley College 84-38, and on Saturday they defeated LA Pierce College 94-41.
Pasadena held their opponents to below 30 percent from the field in the tournament.
The Lancers’ next game is at Glendale Community College on Thursday Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. against Fullerton College in the Lady Vaquero Shootout. The bracket for the upcoming tournament can be found here.