VC Suffers First Loss of Season at Glendale

VC sophomore Alaina Garcia had eight points off the bench, but it was not enough as the Pirates dropped a 57-50 decision at Glendale Friday, Ventura's first loss of the season.
VC sophomore Alaina Garcia had eight points off the bench, but it was not enough as the Pirates dropped a 57-50 decision at Glendale Friday, Ventura's first loss of the season.

The Pirates picked a bad day to have a bad day. Playing a Glendale team riding an 11-game winning streak, the Pirates' women's basketball team committed 20 turnovers and shot 19 percent from three, 4-21, including a 1-10 mark in the fourth quarter, in falling to the Vaqueros 57-50. Talia Taufaasau had 14 points and three assists for Ventura (12-1), and Madison Kast totaled 10 points with seven boards. Alaina Garcia came off the bench with eight points and Kimora Pooler pulled in 10 rebounds.

In what has become a familiar refrain, the Pirate offense struggled in the beginning while the defense held fast, keeping the game close. The Pirates had four turnovers in the first four minutes before Taufaasau's jumper tied the game at 6-6 with 5:38 left in the period. The Vaqueros then hit a three before Kast responded with a short jumper on the next possession, making it 9-8 for Glendale with 4:52 on the clock. Ventura then went scoreless for the rest of the quarter, missing five more shots with three more turnovers. The Vaqueros led at the end of the period, 14-8.

Taufaasau ended the skid on the first possession of the second quarter, but the Vaqueros went on to build a 19-12 advantage midway through the quarter. Kast scored inside to begin a 9-0 VC run, and Garcia followed with a 3-pointer, assisted by Taufaasau. Kast then tied the game with another inside bucket at the 2:17 mark, and she scored again on a short jumper to give VC its first lead of the game, 21-19, with 1:39 remaining. GCC came back with back-to-back buckets before Cece Quintino scored just before halftime.  The game was tied at 23-23 at intermission.

VC got things untracked in the third period, for a while. Taufaasau made a pair of lay-ups and a three, and Nikki Puga followed with another make from range, putting the Pirates ahead 33-30 with 6:08 on the clock. After a Vaquero field goal, Emma Larson made a free throw, and Alyssandra Lacanilao assisted a bucket by Pooler as VC went ahead 36-32 at the 3:25 mark. Unfortunately, at that point, Ventura did not respond to a defensive switch by Glendale, and the Pirates went cold. GCC scored six straight points to close the stanza and held a 38-36 lead at the quarter break.

Ventura's struggles continued in the fourth quarter as they went scoreless for another 5:57. In that time they missed six more shots with a pair of turnovers as Glendale slowly built a 45-36 advantage. Garcia's old-fashioned 3-point play ended the Pirates' scoreless skid at nine minutes, and she hit two more charity tosses two minutes later to make it a 45-41 game, but VC would get no closer. Glendale responded by stretching the lead back to 10, 51-41, with 1:16 remaining. The Vaqueros made just enough free throws in the final minute to send the Pirates to a 57-50 defeat.

LaDaesha Merriweather had seven rebounds in the game, and Pooler added six points to her 10 boards. 

Ventura, which matched the fouth-best start to the season in program history with 12 straight wins, does not have much time to think about their first loss. They return home Saturday Dec. 21 to host College of the Canyons. Tip-off at the Athletic Event Center is scheduled for 5:00 pm.