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With emphasis: COC women win

The Lady Cougars clinch the Western State Conference championship

Posted: February 15, 2009 1:28 a.m.
Updated: February 15, 2009 4:56 a.m.

College of the Canyons basketball player Ashley Mason (32) takes a shot over L.A. Valley's Crystal Broines (33) and Juanita Lewis (22) at COC on Saturday. Mason scored 12 points in the game.

 
College of the Canyons women’s basketball parlayed its defense into offense and won 109-42 Saturday at home against Los Angeles Valley College.

The win was the 11th in a row for COC (21-8, 10-0), which maintained its perfect Western State Conference record and clinched the Western state Conference title outright.

“We’ve been playing really well lately,” said College of the Canyons head coach Greg Herrick. “This is the best we have been playing as a team defensively. We have the reputation as a running team, and we are, but we’re also really working on defense.”

College of the Canyons forced the Monarchs (5-23. 1-10) into 22 turnovers en route to its 67-point victory.

“College of the Canyons is just playing College of the Canyons basketball right now,” said Valley head coach Ruth Saja. “They have a fast break that we just don’t have the players to match.”

The Cougars fast broke their way to a 56-18 halftime lead.

“We knew coming in that we could out-match them, but we wanted to prove what we could do,” Herrick said. “We just wanted to come out and play our game.”

Ashley Wakefield led the Cougars with 29 points.

She also chipped in 10 rebounds, while Charity Smith also had a double-double with 22 points and 10 boards.

Flora Gabrielyan and Juanita Lewis led the Monarchs with 12 apiece.

“We just need to get players that go after it,” Saja said. “You can’t teach heart.”

Wakefield also led the team in steals with four. The Cougars tallied 13 steals total.

“We worked hard to focus on the floor,” Herrick said. “We wanted to get out there and guard them as closely as we could.”

The Cougars also stepped up their shooting in the second half, making 63.9 percent from the floor. They were also perfect from the line.

“I told the team at halftime that we needed to forget the score and play hard,” Herrick said. “Right now we’re working on building momentum for the postseason.”

During halftime, the Lady Cougars inducted LaCresha Clark into their basketball hall of fame. The all-time single season COC scoring record holder became the first one-year Cougar to enter the exclusive club.

kdamore@the-signal.com

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