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Women's Basketball Season Upended By LBCC, 64-62

Women's Basketball Season Upended By LBCC, 64-62 image

The Southern California Regional Round 3 playoff contest between visiting No. 5 seed Long Beach City College and host No. 4 Pasadena City College was everything as advertised. The two teams slugged it out for 40 minutes and it took every second of it to determine a winner Wednesday night. The Vikings ended the Lancers 2013-14 season, 64-62, in front of a large crowd at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. 

The Lancers closed at 22-8 while Long Beach (26-4) advanced to the regional finals at No. 1 seed Ventura on Saturday.

PCC led by as much as 14 points in the first half and was up by four, 59-55, after a pair of Tyler Crockom free throws with 3:33 left. But as it did all night, Long Beach rallied. The Vikings scored the next six straight points to take a 61-59 lead capped by a fast-break layup by Abbey Goodsell with 1:40 remaining.

The Lancers trailed, 63-60, and received one of many big baskets all evening turned in by their game-high scorer Skai Thompson. The sophomore transfer guard drove baseline toward the basket and was fouled while finishing off a layup with 3.2 seconds to go. Thompson missed long on the ensuing free throw and LBCC was able to finish off their mini upset. The Vikings (26-4) had twice lost in overtime to the Lancers in two previous meetings this season.

Despite the missed free throw, Thompson played her finest game as a Lancer. A former All-Los Angeles City talent out of Palisades Charter High, Thompson scored her PCC season high of 23 points. She had 14 by halftime as PCC led 41-31 at the break. Even more impressive was Thompson's long-range shooting as she sank a team season-high five 3-pointers, four in the first half. No Lancer had made more than three 3-pointers in any of the previous 29 games. 

All-State First Team center Kaitlyn Parks also had a big game with a double-double on 14 points (7-for-11 shooting) and 10 rebounds (plus three blocks). All-State Second Team point guard Desiree Loving added six points, three steals and became just the second PCC player to record 10 assists in a playoff game. 

Long Beach relied on guard Shakeena Benton, who scored 27 points, and center Crystal Cockerhan with 12 points and 16 rebounds (plus three blocks and three steals). 

PCC had all the momentum when Thompson drained her fourth trey from the corner with 34 seconds left in the opening half to give the Lancers a commanding 41-27 lead. LBCC though would go on a furious 18-2 run as Jasmine Williams hit a jumper to give the Vikings a 47-43 lead with 13:50 left.

There were five ties and five lead changes in a frenzied second half.

PCC head coach Joe Peron saw his coaching playoff record fall to 32-16. It was the second straight year that the Lancers were eliminated on their home floor, Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium (last year in Round 2). The program is 19-2 now in all playoff games here.

"The game was a great battle between two even teams," Peron said. "The players played with intensity and wanted to win as much as the coaches and home fans. We had a lot of shots that just rang the rim or were in and out. That's basketball. In the first half, everything was going in, but in the second half, the shots just didn't fall for us."

[Photo--Lancer Skai Thompson drills one of her five 3-pointers in a valiant effort v. Long Beach Wednesday, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]

Release Date: 03/05/14
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu