By many observations it was another game in which the No. 1-ranked Pirate women's basketball team used a fast start and outstanding offensive execution to claim the program's 25th consecutive 20-win season and move their record to 5-0 in Western State Conference play. Saturday's 97-79 win at College of the Canyons will be remembered for more than that however, as Ventura claimed the 700th victory of head coach Ned Mircetic's 24-year career. Lisa Marie Sanchez had 36 points with five assists and Brooke Dixon scored a career high 23 points as the Pirates made Mircetic the first coach in California Community College women's basketball history to reach the 700-win plateau.
Sanchez and Dixon combined to shoot 23-25 on the night, and they both missed a shot in the opening minute of the game. After the 19-minute mark of the first half, however, they were perfect. After the score was tied 2-2, VC went on a 13-2 run over a three minute span to take control of the game. Dixon's fourth field goal of the game mad ethe score 19-8 with 14:27 remaining and Sanchez hit a 3-pointer on VC's next possession. Two Sanchez free throws at the 11:41 mark gave the Pirates a 31-12 advantage, and they stretched the lead to as many as 22 points, 35-13, on a Sanchez trey with 10:28 on the clock. Although Canyons made a few runs at the Pirates, VC took a 51-34 lead into halftime.
Ventura led by 17 points, 64-47 with 13:30 remaining in the game when they put things on ice with a 13-3 run. Sanchez hit an uncontested lay-up followed by a 3-pointer from Cynthia Hernandez, assisted by Micaela Pericone-Kapp. Hernandez answered a Cougar score with another deuce followed by a Sanchez runner in the paint. Dixon made a pair of charity shots followed by a free throw from Hernandez, and Sanchez closed the run with a triple from an Adrianne Sloboh assist. VC led 79-50 at the 7:13 mark, and led by the same margin, 29 points, 90-61 at the 4:33 mark before Canyons hit some shots down the stretch to close the final score to 97-79.
Hernandez finished the night with 18 points and Dixon pulled in eight rebounds in the game. Sloboh led the Pirates with nine boards.
VC returns home on Wednesday Jan. 29 to face Moorpark College to complete the first circuit of WSC North play. The Pirates, 5-0, are in first place while the Raiders sit a game behind at 4-1. The evening is also Ventura's 7th annual Ribbons of Life Breast Cancer game. Activities including a silent auction will begin at 4:30 pm in the lobby of the Athletic Event Center. Tip-off for the game will be at 5:00 pm and can be heard live online on the VC Women's Sports Network.