After a slow start Saturday, the No. 4-seed Lancers women’s basketball team defeated No. 13 College of the Canyons in the second round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.
Due to the heavy rain throughout the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles County, the game was pushed back a day to Saturday evening and the Lancers seemed to benefit from the extra day of rest and practice.
“The extra day of rest certainly helped,” sophomore guard Tyler Crockom said. “Although we didn’t start the way we wanted, we picked up our defense and ultimately defense is what helped us win.”
The Lancers’ were led by reserve forward Brandi DuBose, who set a Lancer women’s basketball playoff record by grabbing 18 rebounds to go with her team-high 13 points in the victory. DuBose broke the previous record held by Easter Faafiti of 17 rebounds made in a 2009 playoff win over San Bernardino Valley.
“Brandi is on a mission right now to win,” assistant coach La’Nette Dillard said. “Many people doubted that she would step up in the heat of fire and she’s showing people that she can and will be successful.”
The Lancers (22-7) will host fellow South Coast Conference foe and No. 5 seed Long Beach City College (25-4) on Wednesday, Mar. 5 in Round 3 of the regionals.
The Lancers’ were balanced on offense as six players scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Tyler Crockom tied DuBose for team-high honors in points with 13 to go with eight assists and six rebounds. Freshman guard Kiara Phillips scored 12 points off the bench and added four steals and four assists.
“Once we woke up, our defense was awesome,” Dillard added.
Sophomore guard Skai Thompson scored 11 points and seven rebounds, while standout point guard Desiree Loving added 11 points and four assists. Sophomore center Kaitlyn Parks added 10 points and nine rebounds.
For the Cougars, Keiona Mathews scored 19 points, connecting on 7-of-17 field goals. The Lancers were relentless on defense, forcing the Cougars to turn the ball over 25 times. No other Cougars player reached double figures in scoring. Canyons closed the season at 13-15.
The Lancers got off to a slow start as COC jumped out to an early 18-9 advantage with 13:10 left in the first half. The Lancers would go on a 20-3 run to end the half and take an 18-point halftime lead, 44-26.
“We played great, but we can’t continue to start the game slow,” Loving said. “If we’re going to contend with the best teams we have to play aggressively for 40 minutes.”
The Lancers shot 42 percent from the field (connecting on 32 of 76 attempts), and outrebounded the Cougars 54-47.
In SCC play, the Lancers defeated the Vikings, 77-70, in overtime. That was the second time that the teams went to overtime as the Lancers also defeated LBCC, 69-64, in the championship final of the Irvine Valley Tournament earlier in the season.
“It feels great to win at home, but now it’s time to focus,” Crockom said. “We have to come prepared to play LBCC and begin the game playing aggressive Lancer defense. We know they’re going to come in seeking revenge Wednesday and we want to go out on top.”