Talia Taufaasau hit for 15 points, and Cece Quintino had 14 points and nine rebounds as the Pirates' women's basketball team outlasted Santa Rosa 48-39 in the opening round of the Tom Gilcrest Invitational at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. LaDaesha Merriweather pulled in 11 rebounds as VC (5-2) had a 13-0 run over a 10 minute period in the third and fourth quarters to turn a tie game into a Ventura victory. The Pirates will take on Reedley in the tournament quarterfinals Friday at 5:00 pm.
Ventura got off to a quick start as Merriweather hit a turn-around jumper, and Taufaasau connected from three for a 5-0 Pirate advantage in the first minute of the game. Quintino drove to the hoop for two a minute later and VC led by seven. the Pirates went scoreless for the remainder of the quarter, however, and trailed 8-7 at the quarter break.
Colleen Clow got the team back on the board early in the second period, and a 6-0 run by Taufaasau midway through the quarter gave Ventura a 16-12 edge at the 5:42 mark. Quintino and Nikki Puga connected for buckets to make it 22-14 late, and the Pirates led at halftime 25-21.
The Pirates opened up a 31-24 margin on buckets by Merriweather, Quintino and Taufaasau early in the second half, but the Bear Cubs went on a 7-0 run to tie things up with 5:58 left in the third. Madison Cvijanovich answered with a corner three for Ventura to begin the decisive 13-0 run. Merriweather had a putback and the Pirates led 36-31 headed to the final stanza.
Taufaasau sandwiched a field goal and two free throws around a Puga lay-up, and Quintino's lay-up finished the run for a 44-31 advantage at the 5:44 mark, leading to the 48-39 win.
Cvijanovich came off the bench wit five points and five rebounds for Ventura While Clow hauled in four boards.
Ventura advances to the tournament quarterfinals on Friday Nov. 30 against Reedley College at 5:00 pm.