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College women’s hoops: Identity thieves

L.A. Valley uses COC-style offense to defeat Cougars by 10 points

Posted: February 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.

COC's Hope Smith (45) scores against L.A. Valley College defenders Kalia Turner (23) and Bobbie Morgutia (24) at COC on Saturday.

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In 20 successful years as head coach of College of the Canyons women’s basketball, Greg Herrick has built the program with his signature fast-break offense.

On Saturday night in a key matchup with conference championship implications, COC got a taste of its own medicine.

Los Angeles Valley College erased a halftime deficit and took advantage of 24 fast-break points on the way to a 74-64 win at COC.

“Somebody came in and stole our uniforms and went out there,” Herrick joked.

His team has won each of the last seven Western State Conference, South Division titles, but a loss to first-place L.A. Valley (17-8 overall, 6-1 WSC South) puts the Cougars in a hole.

“I don’t know. They outplayed us,” Herrick said of L.A. Valley, which has handed COC both of its conference losses this year. “They made the adjustments that they needed to make. They were playing hard and they kept playing hard.”

The Cougars (15-8, 5-2) asserted themselves in the paint early, mostly thanks to 6-foot-4 sophomore center Hope Smith.

Smith scored a game-high 24 points and added 15 rebounds. She had 16 points and 11 rebounds by halftime, when COC led 36-30.

In the opening three minutes of the second half, the Monarchs forced three COC turnovers and went on a 10-0 scoring run to take a 40-36 advantage.

The Cougars would never lead again in the game.

“I just think we lost our tempo at the end,” Smith said. “We came to play in the first half and in the second half, we dropped our tempo and let them get a couple of easy baskets.”

L.A. Valley’s Annie Avanessian and Jordan Santiago were the two beneficiaries of costly COC turnovers, recording 20 and 18 points, respectively.

Other than Smith, the only other Cougars player in double figures was Keiona Mathews, who came off the bench to score 14 points.

Once the Monarchs took the lead, COC fought back to tie the score, but L.A. Valley began to pull away midway through the second half when the Cougars went on a nearly three-minute scoring drought. That allowed L.A. Valley to extend the lead to 60-51 at the 9:17 mark.

The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Cougars, who still have five conference games to go.

Going forward, Smith said, “If we play 40 minutes, we’ll win.”

dagnew@signalscv.com

661-287-5530

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