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Miracle Comeback For Women's Basketball, Edges AVC, 67-65

Miracle Comeback For Women's Basketball, Edges AVC, 67-65 image

In the greatest comeback in the playoff history of Pasadena City College women's basketball, the 15th seeded Lancers rallied from 25 points down to defeat 18th seed Antelope Valley, 67-65, Wednesday night. PCC kept its perfect record in all playoff games at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, now at 18-0, in advancing to Round 2 of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

The Lancers (17-12) trailed 65-64 with 20.6 seconds left and Antelope Valley with the ball. However, Marquetta Stokes stole an inbounds pass and found the game's hottest shooter Stella Ghazarian alone in the corner. Ghazarian sank a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining for the game-winning basket.

Amazingly, the Lancers were down at one point, 28-3, in the game's opening 10 minutes. PCC creeped to within 15 points by halftime, trailing the Marauders, 37-22. In the second half, Pasadena saw the deficit go back to 16, 43-27. With 10:20 to go, AVC led 52-42 before the freshman Ghazarian took over.

The 5-foot-6 reserve guard from Glendale High scored on back-to-back layups, then nailed consecutive 3-pointers that cut the lead to 53-52 with 6:45 remaining. Ghazarian's 10-0 run was answered by AVC as it maintained the advantage before Stokes' bank shot tied it at 60-60 with 3:12 left. With 2:20 on the clock, Tiffany Thompson's short bank gave the Lancers their first lead, 62-60.

Antelope Valley (18-12) and PCC traded the lead two more times before the Marauders' All-Foothill Conference guard Ashleigh Wilson made a driving basket for a 65-64 AVC lead. But Ghazarian would then make her game-winning bucket. Ghazarian finished with 27 points, scoring 19 in the second half. She was 7-for-13 on 3-pointers and sank her last five shots from the field. The All-South Coast Conference Second Team selection made five of her last six attempts from beyond the 3-point circle.

PCC's swarming defense created 17 steals overall, including a game-high seven by Stokes. The sophomore forward overcame a poor first half to score nine of her 11 points in the second half. Destinee Sellers, a steady second-year forward, added nine points and nine rebounds. Another shining performance was turned in by 5-foot point guard Thompson, who scored seven points, dished out seven assists and made four steals.

For Antelope Valley, Wilson scored 18 points while center Maurisha McKissic totaled 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Pasadena made ten 3-pointers overall, including two by sophomore guard Vera Machado (seven points, seven rebounds, two assists).

The Lancers now travel to face No. 2 seed Ventura (29-1), a nemesis over the years in the playoffs. PCC downed the Pirates last year in a Round 2 game, 67-56, and had a memorable upset victory over Ventura, 106-93, in the 2009 state semifinals on its way to winning the CCCAA state championship. The only time PCC played a playoff game at Ventura, the Pirates handed the Lancers their worst postseason loss ever, 103-53, in 2002. PCC also tripped up Ventura, 77-62, in the 2007 regionals.

PCC Head Coach Joe Peron compared the AVC win to its comeback in a victory over Cerritos during SCC play.

"It was just like the Cerritos game," Peron said. "We were down by 17 against them and came back. When Antelope Valley jumped to the big lead, I thought 'goodness gracious, we can't do this all over again.' We already used two timeouts and I had to use one more in the first half to stop things. Basketball is a game of runs and I told our players we are going to get a run, we just got to be ready for it. We were ready for those final 20 minutes."

The Lancers are 31-13 in the playoffs in 16 seasons under Peron. The team has never lost a playoff opener in the 15 seasons PCC has made the postseason. The program has only missed the playoffs in one season--2001.

[Photo--Stella Ghazarian takes a shot during PCC's playoff victory over Antelope Valley Wednesday, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 02/22/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu