The Pirates women's basketball team trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half before coming from behind to defeat LA Valley 59-55 Friday afternoon in an elimination game in the Wild West shootout at West LA College in Culver City. VC (1-1) trailed 30-13 with 6:45 remaining in the second quarter before slowly working their way back into the game. Nikki Puga and Cece Quintino led the Pirates with 15 points each while LaDaesha Merriweather netted 11 points with nine rebounds.
The Pirates offensive struggles continued early in the game as they found it difficult to put the ball in the basket. Victoria Maciel's jumper midway through the first quarter brought VC to within 8-6 before the Monarch took control with a 14-2 run over the next six-plus minutes of game time.
Talia Taufaasau's 3-pointer with 7:50 left in the second stanza made it 23-13 before LAVC scored the next seven points to open their biggest lead of the game. A Colleen Clow free throw followed by triples from Emma Larson and Puga closed the gap back to 10, and Puga's lay-up helped set the halftime margin at 35-22.
Quintino and Merriweather each netted a deuce to begin the third quarter before LA Valley scored the next five points for a 40-26 advantage. Madison Cvijanovich cashed in Taufaasau's assist for three at the 5:23 mark, and Quintino made a jumper with 4:20 remaining in the period to cut the deficit to single digits. Quintino scored again with 1:23 remaining and the Pirates trailed 43-36 at the quarter break.
Puga connected from range with an assist by Quintino at the 8:30 mark to reduce the margin to four, 43-39, and a jumper by Maciel and a charity toss by Merriweather reduced the LAVC lead to four, and Merriweather's reverse lay-up made it 46-44 with 5:25 left to play in the game. LAVC responded with a three and a pair of free throws, but the Pirates' momentum continued.
Quintino scored five points in a 7-0 Pirate run, with Puga adding the other deuce, and Ventura tied the score at 51-51 with 2:06 remaining. Quintino then hit Maciel lifting from the right corner for a huge three on the next possession, and the Prates grabbed their first lead of the game, 54-51, with under a minute to play. VC hit five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the 59-55 victory.
Maciel was tough as nails on the court with nine points and eight rebounds while Larson was also big on the glass with seven boards. As a team, VC dominated the glass, winning the rebound battle 44-28. The Pirates also had 21 more shot attempts than the Monarchs, and Ventura limited themselves to nine turnovers.
The Pirates advance to Saturday's consolation final against Oxnard College, 61-56 winners over Yuba College. Tip-off in Culver City is slated for 11:00 am.