MONTEREY PARK—The East Los Angeles College women's basketball team defeated El Camino College, 70-56, and is the third team in school history to advance to the CCCAA state playoffs Elite Eight round.
The No. 2-seed Huskies (28-3) host No. 3-seed Irvine Valley College (27-3) in the Southern Regional championship game in the South Gym E-rena, Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m.
The teams met in the Saddleback Lady Gaucho Classic semifinals with ELAC winning 66-65 in overtime.
"We've played them before (Irvine) and know in order to win it has to be a team effort, which is how we beat El Camino," said ELAC sophomore Kyla Martin-Burnley. We will show up to play with a confident defense plan, which will dictate our offense.
Irvine's top players are sophomore center Breana Turner (Menifee Paloma Valley High School) and freshman guards Tara Casey (Capistrano Valley HS) and Jordan Coleman (Capistrano San Juan Hills HS who combined, score 59.7% of Irvine's point per game.
ELAC is deep according to Turner. "We sometimes take for granted our top three (sophomore forward) Jocelyne Diaz (Whittier HS), (freshmen guards) Kyla Martin-Burnley (Etiwanda HS) and Olivia Ochoa (LA Roosevelt HS), but relay on several other (Huskies) to step in when needed."
El Camino led 41-40, after a 16-6 run to begin the second half, off of a sophomore forward Sidney Chase 3-point swish. Swish connected on three 3-point baskets during the run.
ELAC had three from the bench on the court during the run, freshmen forwards Abigail Vasquez (LA Wilson HS) and Guadalupe Perez (LA Garfield HS) and guard Vianey Chavez (Schurr HS). Each had a great game according to Turner. "All (three) stepped in and played big roles," Turner said.
Vasquez scored two turn-around jump shots to give the Huskies five points leads, the latter putting the Huskies on top 57-52 with 3:53 left. The Huskies continued to build their lead and never looked back.
The trio of reserves, Vasquez, Perez and Chavez had five rebounds each with Perez grabbing four off of the offensive glass.
Vasquez and Chavez scored nine points each and had three and two steals, respectively. Perez scored five points, had four steals as well as the lone Husky blocked shot. All three had an exceptional night according to Turner.
Freshmen guard Olivia Ochoa scored a team-high 18 points, but committed six turnovers. Diaz added 16 points and eight rebounds.
El Camino was led by sophomores forward Shontalene Trudeau (West Torrance HS) who scored a game-high 21 points and guard Sydney Chase (West Torrance HS). Chase knocked down seven 3-point baskets.