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Fudge Is Sweet Shooter In Women's Basketball Playoff Win Over IVC, 76-55

Fudge Is Sweet Shooter In Women's Basketball Playoff Win Over IVC, 76-55 image

For two years, Melissa Fudge led the Pasadena City College women's soccer team in goal scoring. A natural scorer in soccer, Fudge has had a different role in her two seasons on the PCC women's basketball team. A defensive-type player, Fudge helped the Lancers off the bench last season when they captured the state championship, and served again as a key reserve for much of this season.

But ever since PCC Head Coach Joe Peron inserted Fudge as a starter a month ago, the 5-foot-9 sophomore guard has developed a scoring touch. The left-handed shooter scored her collegiate-high of 23 points Friday night as her offense propelled the No. 4-seeded Lancers to a 76-55 victory over visiting No. 13-seed Irvine Valley College in the Southern California Regional Bracket IV semifinals.

The game was played before 275 fans at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, a place where the Lancers have been perfect in postseason play. PCC has never lost a playoff game at the H-P Gym, upping that record to 15-0 since the facility opened in 1999.

PCC improved to 24-4 overall. IVC ends its season at 20-8. The Lancers will host the winner of the No. 5 Riverside-No. 12 Cerritos playoff (February 27) next Saturday, March 6 at 7 p.m. If the Lancers should win that contest, they would advance to their seventh consecutive CCCAA State Final 8 Tournament. 

Pasadena trailed 27-26 at halftime, wasting an early 12-2 lead. Fudge kept PCC in the game by scoring 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. In the second half, the Lancers would go ahead 40-35 thanks to a steal and layup and two free throws by Fudge. The veteran would bank in a 3-point bomb to cap a 15-5 scoring spurt and give the Lancers a commanding 54-40 lead with 9:25 left.

The Lasers would never get closer than 8 points. Fudge again shredded IVC's hopes with back-to-back baskets that made it 71-53 with three minutes remaining.

Overall, Fudge played 36 minutes and the Blair High product finished 8-for-16 from the floor, 4-for-6 on free throws. Her previous scoring high was 16 points. Coming into the game, she was only averaging 6.2 points on the season. Against IVC, she nearly quadrupled that total.

The usual suspects also excelled for Pasadena. Sophomore guard Kim Smith contributed 16 points, 7 assists and 4 steals and frosh center Dominique Scott was a menace inside with 16 points and game-high 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Anna Shahinian scored all 12 of her points in the second half.

Pasadena's tenacious defense created 20 steals and forced Irvine Valley into 31 turnovers. PCC made an uncharacteristic 25 turnovers. 

Irvine Valley was led by Ashley Fajardo with 12 points.

PCC outscored the Lasers, 50-28, in the second half. The Lancers made 60 percent of their second-half shots, and created several fast-break baskets off of steals. 

"We really picked up our play in the second half, especially forcing things on defense," Peron said. "Melissa came up big for us offensively. If she doesn't score like she does in the first half, we would have been in trouble. She was all over the floor, diving on defense. You need to have your sophomores step up at this time. Kim didn't have her best game, but played extremely hard in the second half. Our last 20 minutes made up for a sluggish first 20."

[Photo--Melissa Fudge goes up for a layup for two of her 23 points in the Lancers' 76-55 playoff win over Irvine Valley Friday night at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 02/26/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
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