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Banner Up, Defense Of State Title Starts With Win For Women's Basketball

Banner Up, Defense Of State Title Starts With Win For Women's Basketball image

After a 35-minute ceremony celebrating the Pasadena City College women's basketball state championship for 2008-2009, the defending champion Lancers went back to work Friday night as the 2009-2010 season kicked off with a 76-65 victory over LA Valley in the first round of the Hilton Garden Inn Classic at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

With a former PCC president (Dr. James P. Kossler) and a current president (Dr. Lisa A. Sugimoto) in attendance along with more than 250 fans, the state banner was unveiled that is now hanging in the rafters of the Lancers' home court.  

PCC Head Coach Joe Peron, beginning his 14th season, brought out several former alumni to salute the new edition Lancers, including 2007 State Player of the Year Jeanine Deno. Championship rings were distrubuted to four players from the state title team and several coaches.

Against LA Valley, the Lancers jumped out to a 20-point halftime lead, 43-23, but had some anxious moments late in the game as the Monarchs cut it to 68-61 with 1:44 left. A 3-point play by freshman guard Anna Shahinian with 1:10 remaining would get the advantage back to double-digits, 73-62, as PCC would hold on for the triumph.

Returning All-South Coast Conference guard Kim Smith picked up where she left off from March's state tournament in Fresno by scoring a game-high 21 points and dishing out 6 assists. 

The big story though in the opener was the play of freshman 6-foot-2, post player Dominique Scott, who put on an all-around clinic in her collegiate debut. Scott, from Palisades High, scored 17 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, made 5 steals, blocked 4 shots and passed out 4 assists. Scott had a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) by halftime and her polished play including a 7-for-10 shooting effort from the floor.

Also impressive was returning sophomore center Cherisa Sellers, who made all 5 of her shots to score 10 points and added 8 rebounds with 2 steals and 2 assists. Sellers, Smith and Scott were able to stabilize some erratic play from nervous freshmen as Peron played 10 players who were experiencing their first community college basketball game.

Shahinian, from Glendale High, added 14 points, including a pair of 3-point shots. Redshirt freshman point guard Stephanie DeFrance (Blair High) contributed 5 points and 4 assists in a starting role. 

For LA Valley, Porcha Davis led the way with 17 points and center Christina Hernandez had 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

One area the Lancers will want to improve on is free throw shooting as they made just 42.4 percent from the line (14 of 33 charity attempts). 

The Lancers may have their hands full Saturday when they play a championship semifinal game of the Hilton Garden Inn Classic against Cypress, a 97-45 winner over Taft. Tip-off is 7 p.m. 

In other first round games, LA Southwest downed Southwestern, 78-52, and Chaffey beat San Diego City, 65-39. Today's tournament schedule begins with Southwestern v. San Diego at 1 p.m., Taft v. LA Valley at 3 p.m. and LA Southwest v. Chaffey (championship semifinal) at 5 p.m.

Peron picked up win No. 325 in his coaching career.

[Photo--Anna Shaninian leads the fast break for the state defending champion Lancers in their 76-65 season-opening victory over LA Valley at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium Friday night, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 11/06/09
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
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