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Cougars corralled by Pirates

Undefeated Western State Conference North Division champion Ventura ends College of the Canyons’

Posted: March 8, 2009 3:17 a.m.
Updated: March 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Battling perfection is never an easy task, and College of the Canyons had that lesson reinforced Saturday.

The Cougar women’s basketball season came to a close in the Southern California Regional Finals at the hands of undefeated and 19-time reigning Western State Conference champions Ventura, who beat COC 77-51 in the Pirates’ home gym.

“We played hard for all 40 minutes,” said Ventura head coach Ned Mircetic. “We made some mistakes, but we kept coming.”

The Pirates (33-0) and Cougars (24-9) went back and forth for the first 10 minutes before Ventura took off on a 13-3 run to open up a 10-point lead at the 7:39 mark.

“We could have played better,” said COC guard Britney Bradley. “We missed too many layups, and we just didn’t make our shots when they were there. It seemed like every time we made a mistake they took advantage of it.”

The Pirates maintained a healthy 46-33 cushion heading into halftime in a battle between the dominant teams from the Western State Athletic Conference North Division and South Division.

Both teams went undefeated in league play.

“They made their shots,” said College of the Canyons head coach Greg Herrick. “It’s a simple way to look at it, but when they started hitting their threes we got into trouble. It’s disappointing because this is probably the worst game we have played since November.”

Bradley cited the raucous Ventura crowd as a potential factor in the loss.

“We weren’t really used to playing in front of that many people,” she said. “I don’t think that is why we lost, but it might have gotten to us a little bit.”

Ventura kept hitting its shots in the second half, stretching its lead to 21 on a Julie Selleh layup 12 minutes into the second half.

“Once we were able to spread the floor our offense opened up,” Mircetic said. “Canyons is a heck of a team, and Herrick has done a great job with their group. We definitely had to work to win this game.”

Canyon couldn’t get a break in the last 10 minutes of the game as the Pirates pulled away behind 19 from Selleh and 11 from Erika Ward.

Bradley paced the Cougars with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Wakefield chipped in 12 points and 11 boards.

“I thought the last five seconds of the game pretty much summed the game up,” Herrick said. “We missed those three layups at the end of the game, and it just showed that we could not get anything to go down in the second half.”

The loss concludes a successful season for the Cowboys, while Ventura moves on to the state tournament and plays Foothill College Friday.

“I’m happy with how this year went overall,” Bradley said. “We came together and did what we needed to do.”


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