The VC women's basketball team had a difficult time putting the ball in the basket Thursday night, falling to El Camino 61-55 at the Wild West Shootout at West LA College in the Pirates' season opener. Ventura hit just 28 percent of their shot attempts (18-64) and turned the ball over 17 times, 10 times in the first half, in dropping their second straight opener to the Warriors. Cece Quintino led the Pirates with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds and Victoria Maciel made four 3-pointers en route to 16 points.
Ventura had the early lead behind buckets from LaDaesha Merriweather and Maciel, but El Camino cam storming during a four minute VC scoring drought to take a 7-4 advantage. Nikki Puga connected with a triple to tie the score midway through the period, but El Camino finished the stanza on a 7-2 run.
The Warriors extended their lead to 18-10 three minutes into the second quarter before Talia Taufaasau's lay-up at the 7:04 mark ended nearly seven minutes without a field goal for the Pirates. Lat in the stanza, Maciel sandwiched a pair of threes around a Taufaasau lay-up to pull Ventura to within 23-22. Quintino was 4-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to keep the Pirates within one, 27-26, at halftime.
The Pirates showed some signs of life early in the second half. Maciel hit another triple and Quintino converted a runner for a 31-29 lead. El Camino came back again, taking advantage of another extended scoreless streak by the Pirates, this one over five minutes, to take a 38-31 lead with 2:15 left. Puga connected for three, Quintino had another bucket, and Ari Tubbs converted a Quintino assist and VC trailed 40-38 at the end of three.
Ventura kept up the fight in the fourth quarter, but they did not have enough gas in the tank to finish the job. They pulled to within one point on three separate occasions, but never could get over the hump. El Camino had a 9-0 run late to put the game away, and the Pirates dropped the opener, 61-55.
Taufaasau finished with eight points and five rebounds while Colleen Clow also pulled down five boards. The Pirates were outrebounded 41-29 in the game, adding to their opening day woes.
VC moves to the consolation side of the bracket. They will play an elimination game on Friday nov. 9 against LA Valley at 3:00 pm in Culver City.