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Women's college hoops: Slowly but surely

Santa Monica tries to grind COC’s game to a halt but the Cougars still win

Posted: January 20, 2010 10:22 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons forward Joslynn Frazier posts up against Santa Monica College's Ema Alvarez during the first half Wednesday at COC. The Cougars won 59-49 to capture their 11th straight victory.

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College of the Canyons women’s basketball is no stranger to high-scoring, fast-paced games.

But Santa Monica wanted to prevent COC from playing that way.

As a result, the Cougars came out sluggish in the first half, but Ashley Wakefield’s 23 points and Dominique Turner’s 15 points off the bench helped them turn it around in the second half and beat the Corsairs 59-49 Wednesday at College of the Canyons.

It was the Cougars’ 11th straight victory, although they were kept off balance and trailed the entire first half.

“They were running three people at the ball and we were freaking out,” said Cougars head coach Greg Herrick. “‘What are we supposed to do with the ball now, I’ve got three people on me?’ Well somebody’s open. We’ve never been in that position, at least in a long time. We didn’t handle it well. First half, we blamed each other and blamed the coaches.”

In turn, the Cougars forced shots and committed turnover after turnover.

By the end of the game, COC turned the ball over 32 times to Santa Monica’s 18.

Herrick said the missed attempts were compounded as his team’s confidence began to wane.

Meanwhile, Corsairs forward Chantel Diaz pounded the low post offensively and challenged the many Cougars driving the lane.

Despite brief runs that kept COC within range, Santa Monica took a 26-21 lead into halftime.

“We all know what Canyons wants to do, so we tried to take away the 3s and limit their rebounding so they couldn’t run,” said Corsairs head coach Lydia Strong. “Once our transition defense let us down, they scored so many layups. So the game plan was to do exactly what we did. We just didn’t do it very well. You don’t hold Canyons to 59 points every day.”

In the second half, the roles reversed.

Through the first 11 minutes, COC found the spark that it had been looking for.

Down 32-25, the Cougars went on a 16-0 run and took the lead for the first time at the 14:16 mark off a pair of free throws from forward Joslynn Frazier.

But it was Turner who turned the tables a few minutes earlier with a pair of back-to-back three-point plays.

“It was all hustle,” she said. “I did my best to contribute to the team. Everyone did their part. It was all team effort.”

Cutting to the basket alongside Turner was Wakefield, who scored 15 of her points in the second half.

“We brought a little more intensity and a little more energy and worked together as a team,” she said of COC’s second-half shift.

Wakefield added 15 rebounds and two blocks and finished 10-of-13 from the field, while Frazier finished with six points, 10 boards and two blocks, and Turner posted seven rebounds and five assists.

Diaz was Santa Monica’s only player in double figures with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Herrick credited his team’s defensive pressure for helping the Cougars get back in the game.

COC held the Corsairs to 28.8 percent shooting, but only shot 39.3 percent itself.

The Cougars go for their 12th straight win on Saturday when they host Glendale College at 5 p.m.

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