The women’s basketball team, led by freshman’s Regerina Baker and Judith Espinoza, easily dispatched Chaffey College 87-53 in the opening round of the Glendale CC Vaquero shootout on Friday night.
The Lancers started slowly with several missed rebounding opportunities due to the Panthers aggressive presence under the basket, but point-guard Espinoza’s wide array of skills kept the Lancers within striking distance of Chaffey early on.
Women’s volleyball player and freshman guard Chay’annea Hodges was injected into the game and immediately made an impact with a crafty steal, smooth lay-up and a selfless assist. Her stifling defense kept the Panthers under pressure and Hodges’ staunch attack gave her team more direction.
After finishing a disappointing volleyball season, Hodges was content with her team’s performance, but feels there are still a lot of improvements to be made.
“We worked pretty hard, but I think we have a lot to work on-communication and talking on defense,” Hodges said.
“We kind of had a bad volleyball season, so I just have to take time to focus on a new season and start my mind fresh all over again,” Hodges added.
Power forward Baker’s dominating inside game and freshman Kyrstin Nakamura’s sublime outside shooting allowed the Lancers to surge ahead to a 43-25 lead at halftime. Baker’s solid presence added a spark to PCC’s offense and Nakamura’s trio of pinpoint three-pointers kept the Panther’s defense guessing.
Head coach Joe Peron was pleased with his side’s free throw shooting in the first half and singled out Baker and Espinoza as the standout performers. He felt his offense could have made better selections with their shooting.
“We did a lot better on free throws than our last tournament and we did a good job with our defense,” Peron said. “Baker did a good job in the post area tonight and Espinoza did a good job playing guard.”
“Not rushing stuff on our offense, just being patient and getting the best shot-not a good shot, the best shot,” Person added.
The Lancers ran away with the game in the second stanza mainly due to Espinoza and Baker controlling the Panthers’ defense. Their court vision allowed them to score when given the opportunity and also they fed the ball to teammates in better positions, which displayed their versatility.
There was a short time in which the PCC attack lacked some direction when Espinoza was rested, but she took the offensive reins upon her return and helped to stretch the winning margin to 34 points.
Although new to the team, Espinoza has flourished in leading the offense from the back of the court due to her influential leadership and support shown by her teammates.
“I feel like I’m pretty confident in doing it, mostly because I feel my teammates trust me and that helps me a lot,” Espinoza said. “They trust me with the ball to run the offense and I’m building up on my leadership and try to be more vocal.”
Baker led the scoring with 20 points and had excellent support from Espinoza-13 points, Hodges-12 points and Nakamura added 11 points.