It was a solid start to the new year. The Ventura College women's basketball team had six players score in double figures, with none over 12 points, and they made 53 percent of their field goal attempts in efficiently routing College of the Canyons 81-48 on Friday night on the first day of the VC/OC Crossover at Oxnard College. Elissa Root and Kylie Vint each netted 12 points to lead Ventura (13-6), who defeated the Cougars 71-56 earlier in the season.
The Pirates took over from the start with Celeste Salazar hitting a 3-pointer on the opening possession, and Davina Del Castillo following that up with a steal and lay-up for a 5-0 Pirate advantage. Later in the first quarter, Del Castillo scored again inside, followed by a Jasmyne Martin lay-up and a three-ball from Nikki Puga and VC held a 14-7 lead with 3:06 on the clock. Martin then scored the Pirates' final six points of the stanza, the final two on a left-hand drive and lay-up at he buzzer and VC led 20-12 at the quarter break.
Ventura continued to add to its lead throughout the second quarter, beginning with a 5-0 run with a deuce from Del Castillo and a triple by Alaina Garcia. Salazar hit a pair of treys in the period, and Root hit again from Range while Talitha Draper dominated inside. Del Castillo had another steal and bucket to give the Pirates a 40-16 margin with 1:16 remaining in the quarter before the Cougars scored the final six points before halftime. VC led at the break 40-22.
After halftime, Draper continued to excel in the paint, and Vint got into the act as well, scoring a couple of buckets. Salazar had a nice crossover and drive in transition and Root had a sweet drive and pass to Del Castillo for a 15-footer. Martin's assist to Melissa Ohmie for a wide-open lay-up gave the Pirates a 58-34 lead heading into the final period.
Root continued to have the hot hand in the fourth quarter with two more 3-pointers, and Vint also made her time count inside with a pair of scores. Puga had a nice drive for two, as did Garcia and the Pirates won going away, 81-48.
Root hit four threes for her 12 points and handed out three dimes. Vint was 5-6 from the floor with a pair of free shots for her dozen and she grabbed 5 rebounds. Salazar hit three from downtown and scored 11 points with six boards while Del Castillo netted 10 points and 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. She also pulled in six steals. Martin scored 10 points with three helpers in the game and Draper also contributed 10 points while grabbing five caroms. Puga and Garcia each scored seven points for the Pirates.
Ventura returns home on Saturday Jan. 6 for the second day of the VC/OC Crossover, hosting Glendale at 6:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center. Canyons and Oxnard will play the first game of the day at 4:00 pm. Following the Ventura game, there will be a reception celebrating VC head coach Ned Mircetic's 800th career win. All fans will be invited to stay and have cake marking Mircetic's honor of being the fastest collegiate women's basketball coach to reach 800 career victories.