MISSION VIEJO, Calif. - The consistency of the Pasadena City College women's basketball team can be best displayed in its success during postseason play. On Friday night, the Lancers won for the 18th time in 20 trips to the Southern California Regionals as the No. 10 seed ousted host and No. 7 Saddleback, 72-65.
Overall, PCC's success in the SoCal Playoffs includes a record of 27-12 (.692 winning percentage). Lancers head coach Joe Peron directed his 35th career postseason victory (35-18 record) as PCC earned a spot in the third round next Saturday, Mar. 4. Pasadena will play the winner of the No. 2 East Los Angeles v. No. 15 Santa Ana contest to be played Saturday, Feb. 25.
Against Saddleback (21-10), the Lancers took a 17-14 first-quarter lead only to see the Gauchos roar back for a 36-29 halftime advantage. In the third quarter, PCC turned up the tempo and utilized its height with 6-3 center Alisa Shinn controlling the post. The Lancers clicked on a 22-3 run that erased a 7-point deficit with the freshman Shinn nine points in the rally.
PCC led 53-44 going into the final quarter. Saddleback made it interesting in cutting it to 61-57 on a 3-point launch from Laura Tapia with 2:09 left. At that point, Jelissa Puckett responded for the Lancers by slithering through the paint for a layup. A rebound and basket by Ilianna Blanc pushed the lead back up to eight, 65-57, with 1:20 remaining.
Shinn finished with a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. She made 10 of 18 free throws. Blanc added 17 points and 11 boards while Puckett contributed 12 points and six assists. Jolene Robinson had eight points and Kailyn Gideon chipped in six points, six rebounds and four blocks.
PCC improved to 7-0 v. Saddleback since Peron began his direction of the women's program in 1996-97 (with then co-head coach Greg Smith).
Janae Omusi, the Orange Empire Conference MVP, scored 18 points, making four 3-pointers, to lead the Gauchos.
(Courtesy Robert Lewis, Pasadena City College Athletics)