Huge Win For No. 10 Women's Hoops Over No. 5 LBCC, 56-44
The old school-yard line "I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back," applied Wednesday during a South Coast Conference and state top 10 matchup between visiting No. 5 Long Beach and the No. 10 Pasadena City College women's basketball team. In an effort to solve the team's season-long issues at the free throw line, PCC head coach Joe Peron instructed his players to shoot free throws with one hand while the other hand tucked behind their backs. That strategy resulted in seven straight free throws being made during a 56-44 upset win by the Lancers.
The made one-handed free throws were crucial in keeping Long Beach at bay during the second half. PCC's defense again rose to the occasion, allowing just 16 points to the high-scoring Vikings in the final 20 minutes. PCC improved to 16-5 overall and 6-3 in the conference. LBCC suffered just its third loss of the season (18-3) and is 8-2 in SCC games.
The Lancers, in third place in the conference, also focused their offense to getting the ball inside to freshman center Kaitlyn Parks, who scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half and added 10 total rebounds. Parks sank two free throws via the one hand approach.
Reserve frosh point guard Desiree Loving converted four consecutive shots from one-hand land as part of her 10 points and backup forward Sarah Jackson also hit a one hand attempt (had three points and two steals).
PCC opened a 21-10 lead during the first half and took a 34-28 lead into halftime. Long Beach never got closer than four points.
"Shooting free throws with one arm wasn't meant to be a slap in the face to anyone," Peron said. "We've been shooting 52 percent this year, so we have been practicing shooting with one hand to work on our arm and knee strength. I figured we can't do worse than 52 percent, and I've tried everything to improve our free throw shooting so this was our last resort. If we increase our percentage by 10 percent, we'll be in the game. The deal was, they could shoot free throws their way for the first shot but if they missed, they have to try it my way. And it worked for us."
PCC made 9-for-15 overall at the line, but 7-for-8 (87.5 percent) on the one handers.
Also contributing to the triumph were starting guards Shay Jackson (10 points, seven rebounds) and Stella Ghazarian (eight points, including two 3-pointers). For Long Beach, Shakeena Benton scored 12 points while Talia Rayford had 10 points and 16 rebounds.
The Lancers are 9-0 this season when holding the opponent to less than 50 points. They are 8-1 at home this season and currently have won seven of their last eight games.
PCC will be tested once more Friday when the Lancers host state No. 1 Mt. San Antonio in a 6 p.m. tip-off at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. The game is billed as "Black Out Night" as fans are encouranged to wear black t-shirts in support of the home team. Shirts will be on sale near the front entrance for $7 each.
[Photo--Practice Makes Perfect--Lancer Desiree Loving displays the one-hand form that led to her making four free throws during PCC's 56-44 win over Long Beach Wednesday night, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]