Despite looking impressive before conference play, the Lancers women’s basketball team is now 1-2 after falling to East Los Angeles College (ELAC) 47-51 Wednesday night at home.
The first quarter started slow for the Lancers, as they began the game with a flurry of fouls and turnovers thanks to ELAC’s full-court ball pressure.
The Lancers tallied three fouls in the first two minutes of the game, and subbed frequently to sustain themselves in the high-energy pace ELAC had set, and to try limit foul trouble.
The Lancers offense sparked late in the first quarter when the team focused on dumping the ball inside to freshman forward Ilianna Blanc. Behind Blanc’s inside presence and the versatility of freshman G/F Ella Stepanian, whose length and ball-handling helped the Lancers overcome constant ball pressure, the team ended the quarter ahead 11-8.
In the second quarter, the Lancers were able to control the flow of the game much better by continuing to run their offense through Blanc. Although the plays didn’t always end up in a basket —in fact turnovers and offensive fouls were common — the strategy allowed the team to stay at a comfortable pace for the most part, and the team ended the half down two, 20-22, after ELAC hit a three pointer and converted on an and-1 opportunity just before the first-half buzzer.
In the third quarter the Lancers seemingly solved their offensive woes, pushing the ball in transition and taking advantage of a soft zone in the beginning of the third quarter.
“We know we had to start [the second half] strong,” Stepanian said. “We wanted to leave it all out on the court.”
Individual brilliance in the third from sophomore PG Judith Espinoza, Stepanian, and Blanc led to the highest scoring quarter for the Lancers, who racked up 17 points in the period after scoring just 20 in the entire first half.
Unfortunately, the Lancers struggled to get stops and allowed ELAC multiple opportunities through offensive rebounds. Despite the offensive output PCC still trailed by 2 points, 37-39, going into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter the team again struggled to score, and only scored their first points — a no look pass from Espinoza to sophomore forward Gwenaelle Gouloba for a lay-up — well into the quarter. The next play down the court, however, ELAC grabbed an offensive rebound that led to a foul. After making the first free throw, ELAC got yet another offensive rebound off the second free-throw miss.
With under three and a half minutes to play, Espinoza left the court with a nose injury. She returned about five minutes later and missed no game time as the Lancers prepared for their final push, down 39-43.
At the 1:15 mark Espinoza hit a jumper to put the Lancers within two points, 44-46, but after more unnecessary fouls and giving up yet more offensive rebounds, the game went to ELAC with a final score of 51-47.
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