De la Torre/Courier The PCC’s Lancers Host MT. SAC, at the Hutto Patterson on Gym, on Friday January 16, 2015.
De la Torre/Courier
The PCC’s Lancers Host MT. SAC, at the Hutto Patterson on Gym, on Friday January 16, 2015.

In their biggest test to date, the women’s basketball team hosted No. 1 ranked Mt. SAC on Friday night and easily succumbed to their South Coast rivals 95-70.

The stage was set for arguably one of the games of the season, with the No. 18 ranked Lancers hoping to cause an upset and also wanting to atone for a thrilling one-point overtime loss to East LA College in their previous conference matchup on January 10. Both teams showed in their intense pre-game huddles that this just wasn’t another game.

The Mounties shocked PCC in the opening minutes by leaping out to an 8-0 lead due to smothering defense, which forced their hosts into sloppy passing errors and poor shot selection.

Mt. SAC unloaded seven uncharacteristic first half treys onto the Lancers, who were convinced their defense wouldn’t need to pay much attention to outside of the perimeter based on how the Mounties have played in the past, according to 19th season veteran head coach Joe Peron.

“That’s not what they’re known for and they had a great outside shooting night, they really got prepared for that,” Peron said.

Even though Mt. SAC had complete control of the first half by taking a 49-34 lead into the break, Peron barked at the referees throughout the half regarding their calls.

With the Lancers chasing their tails by playing from behind all night, freshman point-guard Judith Espinoza and freshman power-forward Regerina Baker tried to inspire their teammates by contributing 21 and 20 points, respectively.

Espinoza shot 75 percent from the charity stripe (9 of 12) and at one stage was brought down onto her knees by some overpowering Mounties defense. But she continued to dribble and regrouped by driving half-court and finishing with an underhanded lay-up. Baker chipped in with 13 boards, which completed her eleventh double-double for the season.

Freshman guard Chy’annea Hodges cited lackluster rebounding and an inability to outpace their opponents on the floor as key issues that influenced the emphatic defeat.

“I think that we didn’t really get a lot of offensive and defensive rebounds, we should have boxed out more,” Hodges said. “It affected us a lot that we were always running behind, especially against a fast-paced team that goes up and down. We should have been more in condition.”

Hodges lauded Baker and Espinoza for their respectable performances in a disappointing overall display from the Lancers.

“Especially Regerina and Judith stood out for both having 20 points, they really did good and really stepped up tonight,” Hodges said.

Peron lamented his team’s inconsistency and the team paid for their anxious start. That made it difficult to run down Mt. SAC’s huge lead, which stretched out to as much as 27 points a few minutes from the final whistle. Even though he stressed to his players to minimize their unforced errors, Peron admitted the girls didn’t execute his plan.

“The girl’s performance was inconsistent and then we kind of buried a hole at the beginning of our night, getting going and missing too many easy shots. Just the nerves I guess, they told me,” Peron said.

“With the team I have it does make it a little difficult you know to always fight to comeback,” he added. “I said that they are not going to be anything spectacular, it’s up to you guys not make a lot of mistakes, which we did.”

The Lancers fall to 1-2 in conference play and 12-7 overall and their next conference game is on Wednesday at 5 p.m. against hosts’ LA Trade Tech College.

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