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COC women sneak by SBCC

Cougars down SBCC 91-87 in wire-to-wire battle

Posted: February 5, 2014 10:27 p.m.
Updated: February 5, 2014 10:27 p.m.

College of the Canyons' KeKe Mathews pushes past a Santa Barbara City College defender on Wendesday's at COC.

 

Late in Wednesday’s matchup between the College of the Cougars and Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros women’s basketball teams, COC point guard Shawn Kolani had the ball in her hands with the game on the line.

It was an ideal situation for the Cougars.

Tied at 87 with 30 seconds remaining, Kolani hit four straight free throws on the next two possessions to give COC the 91-87 win.

“She put the team on her back,” said COC head coach Greg Herrick of Kolani. “She made some big shots for us at the end — just battled out there.”

Wednesday’s contest was exactly that, a battle.

Although on paper, perhaps it shouldn’t have been.

The Vaqueros (9-12 overall, 1-6 Western State Conference North Division) entered Wednesday’s game at the bottom of the league, while the Cougars came in sitting in third place in the division.

However, SBCC’s lone conference win had come against the Cougars on Jan. 11, when the Vaqueros scraped by in an 85-79 contest.

“They match up well because they play as hard as they can for 40 minutes,” Kolani said.

Both teams played a physical brand of basketball, and because of it both teams also saw their gameplans change as a result of foul trouble.

SBCC’s dynamic forward Mhiah Vickers helped the Vaqueros out to an early 6-0 lead, but picked up two early fouls and spent a large portion of the opening 20 minutes on the bench.

Just three assists shy of a double-double in the first half, Kolani led the Cougars into the break up 46-37.

The lead would climb to as high as 12 points early in the second half, but that was before SBCC decided to run the full-court press.

The Vaqueros hounded COC (11-12, 5-3), and after committing no turnovers in the first half, Kolani gave the ball away eight times in the second half as a result of either pressures or double-teams.

Cougars teammate Keke Mathews scored 25 points on Wednesday, but fouled out in the middle of the Vaqueros’ furious comeback attempt.

The game was most in doubt, when, after Mathews’ foul out and off of three straight COC turnovers, the Vaqueros took a 78-77 lead on a jumper by guard Jasmine Mata with 3:30 remaining in the game.

That was when, without Mathews and with Vickers fouled out for SBCC after a 22-point outing, Kolani calmed herself down and put the game away.

The guard finished with 19 points and 12 assists.

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