MONTEREY PARK, CA —The Lady Huskies women’s basketball team won a 68-56 come-from-behind South Coast Conference North Division game against upstart Chaffey College with high stakes on the line for both programs.
After a stunning 68-66 upset at Pasadena City College last week, Chaffey was on the bubble for a playoff spot with four other teams. ELAC, guaranteed a playoff berth based on their RPI ranking, entered the game in a fight for a decent seed out of the 19 teams that will receive bids.
The outcome was uncertain for three quarters of play in the playoff atmosphere battle. After 14 lead changes and five ties, ELAC led 48-45 entering the final quarter.
ELAC cranked up its defense in the final frame and outscored Chaffey 20-11 with nine points from ELAC freshman guard Jaelynn Curley (Ganado, AZ / Ganado HS).
The Lady Huskies opened with an 8-0 run off three baskets, the latter a layup off the glass from sophomore forward Stevi Hall (Harrisburg, PA / Harrisburg High School). ELAC led 56-45 with 7:52 left and kept a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
Hall scored a basket that brought the house down with 2:03 left in the game. While falling forward, she flipped the basketball behind her head, which popped in off the glass. Chaffey was 1-of-6 from the line down the stretch.
ELAC’s largest lead was 68-54 from two free throws by sophomore forward Monica Garcia (Garfield HS). Twenty-six seconds later, the Lady Huskies ended Chaffey’s season.
In the first quarter, ELAC led 8-5 from a layup by freshman forward Dominique Godbolt (Fairfax HS) at the 2:04 mark. Chaffey closed out the quarter with four unanswered points and led 9-8.
Chaffey built its biggest lead, five points, off a layup from sophomore forward Kahla Badibanga (Serrano HS) and led 27-22 with 2:42 left in the half. ELAC followed with a 7-0 run that gave the Lady Huskies their first lead since the first quarter.
Freshman forward Mercedes Ortiz (Garfield HS) stole the ball with 1:40 left in the half. She dished it to sophomore guard Kimberly Peraza (Downey HS) who eight seconds later hit the first of two-straight three pointers. ELAC led 29-27. ELAC outscored Chaffey 28-25 in the quarter and led at the half 36-34.
The third quarter began with four lead changes and two ties. Garcia swished a jump shot with 6:11 left in the third and gave the Lady Huskies a lead they would not relinquish.
Four Huskies scored in double figures, two of them had double doubles. Garcia scored a game-high 18 points. Her 11 rebounds made it her 14th double double of the season. She finished with four steals and a team-high seven assists. Garcia finished the regular season with an average of 18.3 points per game, second best in the SCC North, 21st best in the state out of approximately 1,000 women.
Godbolt finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, her 19th double double of the season. She averages 13.4 rebounds in the state, best in the SCC North and fifth best in the state. Her 375 rebounds to date is seventh best in the state. Both Godbolt and Garcia each had a blocked shot.
The other Huskies that scored in double digits were Curley and Hall. Curley scored 17 points, two of them treys while Hall finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Huskies finished with 57 rebounds. Twenty-two rebounds were pulled down from offensive boards, half from Godbolt and Garcia, who finished with six and five, respectively.
The Lady Huskies shot a poor 36.4% (4-of-11) from the charity stripe, something they will have to improve if they want to win playoff games.
Playoff seedings will be announced on Monday. Information will be posted on ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook (@elachuskiesathletics) and at the ELAC Huskies Athletics website, http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia