Using a 26-point output in the opening quarter, the VC women's basketball team raced to a 15-point lead after 10 minutes of play en route to a 61-49 victory over previously unbeaten MiraCosta College Sunday in the Championship Game of the Wild West Shootout at West Los Angeles College in Culver City. Talia Taufaasau scored 16 points with four assists and a pair of steals to lead the Pirates (3-0) and earn tournament MVP honors. Yasmine Ahllamara had 10 points in earning an all-tournament nod and Madison Kast netted nine with five boards for another all-tournament honor.
VC lead wire-to-wire with Taufaasau getting a steal and lay-up in the opening minute to get Ventura on the board. Kast followed that up with an inside bucket on the next possession for a 4-0 lead. After a Spartan three, Alaina Garcia answered from range, then Victoria Maciel hit a triple for a 10-5 margin. Taufaasau converted an old-fashioned 3-point play and Ahllamara nailed a shot from deep in the left corner as Ventura led 16-5 halfway through the period. Garcia and Emma Larson ended the stanza with 3-pointers and the Pirates held a 26-11 advantage at the quarter break.
The pace slowed a bit in the second quarter in the Pirates' third game in as many days in the season-opening weekend. Kast made a pair of free throws to begin the period, stretching the lead to 17 points, 28-11. MiraCosta was able to string together three field goals before Taufaasau's jumper ended the run and preserving VC's double-digit advantage. That pattern continued, including when Alyssandra Lacanilao sliced through the defense for two for a 34-19 lead at the 3:14 mark. Ventura took a 35-20 advantage into halftime.
VC's offense went cold as the third quarter began with the Pirates managing but one basket, a lay-up by Lacanilao, in the first six minutes of play. The Pirate defense was up to the challenge, however, holding the Spartans down as well, limiting them to just five points over the same span. Maciel scored a lay-up of an Ahllamara assist, and Kast hit one of two charity tosses and VC led 40-25 with 3;16 remaining in the period. MiraCosta then went on an 11-2 run to close to within six before Ahllamara hit a lay-up and Larson nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pirates a 47-36 edge heading to the fourth.
Ahllamara hit a three from the left corner to stretch the lead to 14, 52-38, with 7:36 remaining before the Spartans had one last run. MCC scored the next nine points to close to within five before Lacanilao cashed in a Taufaasau dime from deep in the right corner to boost the margin for VC. Lacanilao then hit Ahllamara for a lay-up for a 57-47 Pirate edge at the 3:05 mark. The lead stayed in double-figures the rest of the night as Ventura won going away, 61-49.
Larson finished the night with seven points and five rebounds and Lacanilao netted seven points, as well. Maciel had six points and seven rebound while Kimora Pooler also pulled down seven caroms. LaDaesha Merriweather pulled in five boards in the victory.
The Pirates will return for their home opener on Thursday Nov. 21 in the VC-Kiwanis Tournament of Champions. Ventura will play Laney College at 6:00 pm that day in the opening round of the bracket at he Athletic Event Center.