The Ventura College women's basketball team claimed the consolation trophy of the Wild West Shootout at West Los Angeles College in Culver City Saturday with a 60-31 victory over Oxnard College. Talia Taufaasau earned all-tournament honors with a 17-point, five-assist, four-steal performance and Nikki Puga had 15 points and seven rebounds. Victoria Maciel contributed 10 points and six boards to the victory for the Pirates (2-1).
VC got on the board early when Taufaasau connected on an old-fashioned 3-point play on the Pirates' opening possession. Ventura's offensive sturggles that plagued them throughout the opening weekend resurfaced soon thereafter, however, as they did not score again for five minutes. After a Puga lay-up broke the drought, Taufaasau netted seven straight points for VC, and Madison Cvijanovich connected for a 3-pointer to give the Pirates a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ari Tubbs hit a triple to begin the second period, and five straight points from Maciel expanded the Pirate advantage to 22-11 at the 4:15 mark. Taufaasau and Robin Prince connected for field goals, and Puga hit a three before LaDaesha Merriweather's charity toss set a 31-11 halftime advantage.
VC turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the second half before Puga converted Emma Larson's assist for three, and followed it up with a lay-up for a 36-13 advantage. Three's from Maciel and Taufaasau expanded the lead, and two free throws by Taufaasau made it a 29-point game, 44-15, with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter. The Condors strung together a few scores toward the end of the period, but Colleen Clow's lay-up off a Cvijanovich assist made it 49-22 at the quarter break.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Puga connected from range for the Pirates' biggest lead of the game, a 57-24 advantage, and VC cruised in for the 60-31 win.
Prince pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in the game and Merriweather recorded six boards.
The Pirates will return to the court on Black Friday, November 23, opening the VC-Kiwanis Tournament of Champions against Ohlone College. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center.