Women's Basketball Week Roundup: Huskies Split a Pair at Home
by Cerwin D Haynes
(photos by Stephen Morales)
East LA College entered this past week with a huge opportunity to establish strong footing in SCC-North conference play. They hosted the Mounties of Mt. San Antonio College this past Wednesday and the Roadrunners of Rio Hondo yesterday. Here's how they fared:
Feb 2: Mounties 64, Huskies 57
With both teams undefeated in conference play and ranked in the CCCSIA top-10, ELAC (#8) hosted Mt. SAC (#4) for the right to take control of the SCC-North. The Huskies got off to an unusually slow start as they struggled mightily from the field, missing 13 of their first 16 shots en route to 25% shooting for the first half. The Mounties seemingly had everything working for them, as they would lead by as many as 19 points before settling for a 30-16 halftime lead.
Coach Turner's pack has shown a number of times this season that they can rebound from a bad quarter of half even. The Green came out of the locker room for the third quarter fired up, completely turning the tables on the visiting Mounties by shooting 11-19 in the period while holding the visitors to 2-10 from the field. Delilah Kimble-Gray, Destyni Heard and Naomi Winston-Ellis came alive to score 22 of the Huskies' 26 points in the quarter, outscoring Mt. SAC by 16 and taking a 42-40 lead into the fourth.
East LA would take a six point lead on a Winston-Ellis three-ball with 4:42 left, but the strain of the starters playing heavy minutes due to a short bench finally caught with the Pack as they appeared to run out of gas. This allowed the Mounties to gain a step on the Huskies on both ends of the court as the visitors found fast-break opportunities while feasting out the foul line. Mt. SAC (19-3, 4-0) would shoot 6-9 from the field and 12-17 from the foul line, outscoring ELAC 24-15 in the final period and handing the Huskies (15-6, 3-1) a tough 64-57 loss.
Kimble-Gray lead the Huskies with 15 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. Winston-Ellis struggled from the field, shooting 3-12 for nine points. Heard tried to pick up her teammate, scoring 13 points on 6-10 shooting. Both Winston-Ellis and Heard netted eight rebounds apiece. Isabel Arango, who also struggled from the field this game, did her best to help will her team in the final period by shooting 2-2 after missing 12 of 15 shots over the first three quarters.
Feb 4: Huskies 69, Roadrunners 64
Now needing a win to keep pace with conference leader Mt. SAC, East LA welcomed a feisty Rio Hondo team that had revenge on its mind after the Huskies beat the Roadrunners in Whittier over two weeks ago 72-50. ELAC held an 16-point lead at halftime thanks to a strong second quarter where Winston-Ellis turned on the flamethrowers from deep (5-7 from three). The Huskies outscored the Roadrunners 28-13 in the second period en route to a 47-31 halftime lead.
East LA spend the second half - and largely the fourth quarter - holding on as Rio clawed and whittled away the Pack's lead to single digits late. But the Huskies (16-6, 4-1) never let Rio (10-13, 2-3) get close enough to tie the game, as a Kimble-Gray free throw with 15 seconds left provided the final margin for victory.
Head coach Bruce Turner, aware of the fatigue factor that sucked the air out of his squad late in the last game, allowed his available bench players more minutes to strategically spell his starters. His strategy was rewarded with not just a win, but the first triple-double performance in his long tenure helming the program: Kimble-Gray notched 19 points (6-12 FGs), 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Winston-Ellis finished with 18 points, all from behind the arc.
- While Coach Turner is no stranger to utilizing short rotations of 6-8 players, his bench has been affected by injuries to key subs F Maya Clark and G Karmyl Gholar.
- Arango shot much better in the game vs Rio, going 6-11 from the field for 12 points while adding seven boards.
- Aliya Contreras was noticibly more aggressive offensively via taking open shots versus the Roadrunners. She only shot 2-7 from the field, but both makes were three-pointers and she also got the the free throw line. She sunk 3-4 from the charity stripe, and scored nine points overall.
The Huskies continue SCC-North play as they host LA Trade Tech next Wednesday Feb 9th at 7pm. It'll be the second meeting of the two teams, as ELAC defeated Trade in the Beaverdome 56-46 two weeks ago on Jan 21st.