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Defending State Champion Women's Basketball Hosts IVC In SoCal Playoff Friday

Defending State Champion Women's Basketball Hosts IVC In SoCal Playoff Friday image

Securing the No. 4 seed in the Southern California Regional Playoffs, the defending state champion Pasadena City College women's basketball team hosts No. 13 Irvine Valley College Friday, Feb. 26 in a Bracket IV semifinal game. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, a place where PCC is a perfect 14-0 in all postseason games ever played at the facility.

PCC finished the regular season at 23-4, again taking second place behind South Coast Conference North Division champion Mt. San Antonio College.  However, the Lancers beat the No. 3-seed Mounties in the conference finale and had earlier defeated No. 2 Ventura in the PCC Rose City Classic title game. 

The last time Irvine Valley faced PCC in the postseason was Feb. 28, 2003, when the Lancers scored their largest playoff victory ever, a 40-point win over the Lasers, 94-54, in the bracket semifinals. IVC was the third place team from the Orange Empire Conference, a league in which PCC is 6-2 v. all OEC opponents in the postseason.

The Lasers (20-7 overall) have had an unusual season. At one point, Irvine Valley won 13 straight games, one more than the longest win streak by PCC this season (12). IVC actually won more tournaments than Pasadena, 4-3. Irvine Valley captured December titles at the San Diego City, Irvine Valley, Ohlone, and Foothill tournaments.

Irvine Valley also started out Orange Empire play at 6-3 but a late-season slump saw the Lasers lose their final three conference games, drop to third place, and see a potential higher seed plummet to the 13th spot.

Coached by Julie Hanks in her 12th season, IVC is led by All-OEC First Team point guard and sophomore Erika Garcia, averaging 9.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.5 steals, and 6-foot-2 center D.J. Butler (10.5 points, 7 rebounds per game). Sophomore forward Courtney Kollasch, IVC's leading scorer at 12.2 points a game, was left off the OEC First and Second Teams.

PCC is led by sophomore guard Kim Smith, who tops the team with a 17.5 points average along with a team-high 82 assists (3.2 a game). Freshman center Dominique Scott is averaging a double-double at 14.7 points and 10.9 rebound clips. Freshman guard Anna Shahinian averages 12.3 points and leads the Lancers in 3-point baskets with 47. 

PCC Head Coach Joe Peron likes his team's chances of possibly advancing to a seventh consecutive Final 8 Tournament, but is cautious of his team's first opponent.

"We were a No. 4 seed last year, and we had similar things occur during the regular season and even in conference play," Peron said. "We know how that finished out, but you can't assume success. Irvine Valley is a very dangerous opponent and that team would love to stage an upset on our court. We turned a corner I think in the last few games. Beating Mt. SAC was a confidence builder. Our attitude must be to focus on each possession and not get ahead of ourselves."

If PCC defeats Irvine Valley, the Lancers would face the winner of the No. 5 Riverside v. No. 12 Cerritos game (Feb. 27) in the Bracket IV Finals on Saturday, March 7 at the HP Gym.

[Photo--Ashley Quinonez (black jersey) has become a key role player at forward for PCC in the late season after taking a starting spot the past few games, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 02/23/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu