The Pirates' women's basketball team started slowly, but used a strong second quarter to pull away from Cuesta College in VC's 53-36 victory over the Cougars Wednesday evening in San Luis Obispo. Celeste Salazar and Nikki Puga each netted 12 points, Jasmyne Martin scored 11, and Davina Del Castillo posted her 14th double-double in 25 games for the Pirates (19-6, 5-0), who completed the first round of Western State Conference North Division play undefeated.
The Pirates started slowly, and the Cougars hit four of their first five shots to take an 8-5 lead. Elissa Root tied the game with a 3-pointer at the 3:48 mark of the opening quarter, and Puga followed with a triple, and Martin and Salazar each netted field goals and the Pirates led 15-12 at the quarter break.
Ventura pulled away with a 19-4 second quarter, scoring the first six points of the period, including a 3-pointer by Salazar. Martin had a coast-to-coast drive and bucket, Del Castillo hit Melissa Ohmie inside for a deuce, Salazar hit again fro range, and Del Castillo converted a steal to two points and Ventura stretched the lead to 30-14 with 3:55 remaining in the half. The Pirates led at halftime 34-16.
The Pirates extended their lead early om the third period before the Cougars were able to make it an even stanza by the quarter break. VC led 44-25 at the end of three, and maintained the margin in the fourth for the 53-36 victory.
Avery Brunk and Martin each grabbed six rebounds, and Del Castillo and Puga recorded five and three steals, respectively. Del Castillo also had four assists.
Ventura closes out a three-game stint away from home on Saturday Feb. 3 at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. Tip-off against the second-place Bulldogs is scheduled for 3;00 pm.