Hot Second Half Shooting Secures Win #20 for Huskies
|Game Statistics||Long Beach||East Los Angeles|
|Field Goal %||32.1%||43.7%|
|Pts off Turnovers||13||28|
|2nd Chance Pts||15||13|
|Pts in the Paint||34||38|
by Cerwin D Haynes
Looking to finish strong and shore up their playoff seeding, the East Los Angeles College (#8) women's basketball squad had to first take care of South Coast Conference-North co-winner Long Beach City College (#21). The Vikings were thought to provide a stiff pre-playoffs test for the Huskies, particularly given the Pack were without their lead guard and captain Delilah Kimble-Gray who has been out this week to recover from some nagging ailments. Her presence was missed Wednesday although ELAC toughed out a 52-48 over El Camino, but the feeling was her teammates would need to perform at a higher level to beat the Vikings.
It took them a half, but the Huskies eventually would turn up the output. A 47-33 scoring advantage over the final two quarters gave ELAC (20-7, 6-2) the win over LBCC (21-7, 9-1).
The teams were tied at 25 going into halftime, as East LA was still mired in the type of offensive slog that they suffered through on Wednesday. Things started to change for the better in the third quarter: a quick 6-0 by ELAC which included a couple of layups got the home Green the lead and some offensive mojo. With the lead 33-29 at the 6:38 mark, Naomi Winston-Ellis - who had been silent in the first half - finally came alive: she made her first jumper, and then after a Vikings missed layup, nailed her first three-pointer as she was hit on the arm - the made free-throw gave her the rare four-point play and six quick points for a 39-29 ELAC lead. Destyni Heard would follow that with a three-ball of her own off a LBCC turnover, capping a 17-4 spurt over the first 4:05 in the quarter for a 42-29 lead.
Long Beach's Jaseemah Martinez would convert a layup with 57 seconds left in the period to trim the ELAC lead to eight, 46-38. But Heard had an answer: another bomb from downtown for a 49-38 lead that the Huskies carried into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, East LA kept Long Beach at arms' length, expanding the lead to as much as 18 points and keeping the Vikings from threatening. Winston-Ellis added the finishing touch with a driving lay-up plus contact for the and-1. The made free throw gave ELAC a 72-56 lead with 43 seconds left.
- Winston-Ellis, coming off the bench, scored all of her 15 points in the second half (5-9 FGs, 3-7 3FGs, 2-2 FTs) and added eight rebounds and four steals.
- Isabel Arango lead all scorers with 18 points on 9-16 shooting. Along with her mid-range game, she hit a variety of driving layups and bankers that looked a bit like the type of shots Kimble-Gray is used to making.
- Heard scored 15 points on 6-11 shooting and 3-5 from long-range. She also had a stout defensive performance with six boards, five steals and four blocked shots.
- Navi Huskey had a double-double for the visiting Vikings, scoring 17 points and pulling down 17 boards.
With the regular season concluded, ELAC will learn of its playoff seeding this weekend. The CCCAA Playoffs will begin Tuesday, March 1st.