Santa Monica Halts Monarch Playoff Hopes
Valley College’s women’s basketball record for the WSC conference is 8-4.
The Lady Monarchs had a lot riding on the game against the Santa Monica Corsairs Saturday night in trying to secure sole possession of second place within the Western State Conference. But the intensity of the Corsair defense halted the Monarchs' momentum and six-game winning streak losing 56-54.
"[Santa Monica] controlled the tempo," said Valley Head Coach Monica Hang. "We missed shots. We fell short on some execution on defense and it's a two-point game, it goes to a lot of things."
Throughout the game Santa Monica pressed the Monarchs and at some points it was broken. Santa Monica ran a 1-2-1-1 press and trapped Valley on several occasions; however, Valley did break through their traps during parts of the game.
Throughout the game, the Corsairs used press defense to rattle the Monarchs' offensive flow. Though the Monarchs were able to break the press at times, the Corsairs successfully trapped the Lady Monarchs and caused several turnovers.
"Our initial plan was to do a different press … because they saw [our press] on film, so we changed the press up … and I thought it worked," said Santa Monica Head Coach Lydia Strong. "The game was tight the whole way … it wasn't a high scoring affair."
Turnovers and missed lay-ups were problematic for the Monarchs. But despite the Corsairs' defensive schemes and the Monarchs' inconsistency on offense, the green and gold only trailed 28-26 at the half.
"We knew that their [press and defense] was coming," said Valley forward Richelle Najera. "It was just not our day. We shot the ball [but] it was just not going in. We played hard. Their baskets were just falling while ours weren't."
The Santa Monica game also marked the return of starting Monarch point guard Leticia Pelayo, who did not practice with the team during the week, but was cleared to play for the Monarchs' final game of the regular season.
"I was nervous today," said Pelayo. "The whole week they were practicing and I wasn't there because I was in treatment. In reality I was scared, because they had been working … I hadn't done anything."
In the last minute of regulation the score was 56-54, and there was hope that the Monarchs could have tied the game. The Corsairs, however, took the game over with tighter defense and walked away with the victory.
"It wasn't just that last shot, it was little mistakes that that cost us [the win]," Hang said. "Overall, [we] did a good job in the season and the conference. My ladies fought and grew as individuals on and off the court and I'm proud of them."
College of the Canyons will be representing the Western State Conference, Southern Division this Friday, Feb. 25 at College of the Canyons CCCAA Regional playoffs.
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