Lady Eagles Fall in Elite Eight, Finish Season 30-2
The MSJC women's basketball team let a nine point halftime lead get away on Saturday night as they lost to visiting East Los Angeles 76-65 in the CCCAA Southern California Regional Finals.
The Lady Eagles had a slow start and fell behind 24-16 after one quarter, but out scored the Huskies 21-4 in the second period to lead at the half 37-28. The teams exchanged mini runs early in the third quarter with MSJC able to keep the Huskies at arms length, until a late third period surge that bled into the fourth quarter gave ELAC the upper hand. The Lady Eagles had some untimely turnovers and went cold from the field over a six minute stretch that allowed ELAC to take control of the game. MSJC would make one last run at it in the final few minutes. Trailing 61-50, the Lady Eagles went on a 7-0 run with a 3 pointer from Randi Johsnon a basket by Britney Thomas and a free throw a piece by Thomas and Crystal Malveaux, to cut the lead to 61-57 with 4:50 remaining, but ELAC responded with back to back three pointers to nudge the game out of reach.
Genaya Wilkinson had a huge day off the bench in a losing effort for MSJC as she had 16 points and 8 rebounds. Southern California Player of the Year Thomas had a double double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Malveaux finished the day with 9 points as did Nokomis Cabrera. Cabrera also had a team high 9 assists for MSJC. Tiffani Martinez was the Huskies top scorer with a game high 19 points. MSJC out rebounded ELAC 57-40 on the day, but the Huskies came up with some timely offensive rebounds to make the difference in the contest. ELAC also went 17 for 21 from the free throw line while the Lady Eagles shot just 10 for 22 from the charity stripe.
The loss concludes the Lady Eagles season at 30-2, while ELAC improved to 23-9 and they advance to the State Final Four. The 30 wins this season ties the Lady Eagles school record for victories in a season. The 2012-13 team went 30-3 when they advanced all the way to the State Finals. MSJC's successful season also included the program's third conference championship in the past four years and a school record five pre-conference tournament titles. The Lady Eagles won the San Jacinto Lion's Club Tournament, the High Desert Classic in Barstow, the Panther Pride Tournament at Chaffey, The Desert Winter Classic at COD, and the Ventura Optimist's Club title at Ventura College.
MSJC's Crystal Malveaux had 9 points and 5 rebounds Saturday night, but it wasn't enough as the MSJC women's basketball team's outstanding season came to an end in the State Elite Eight as they lost to visiting East Los Angeles 76-65 in the So Cal Regional Finals. (DeeAnn Bradley/MSJC)