By Carlos Alvarez
After a sluggish first half, the East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team dominated El Camino College Compton Center, winning 77-50 in front of its home crowd Jan. 14.
“We came out sluggish because we didn’t play our normal game defensively. We usually start pressuring teams. Today we just played basic defense,” ELAC Head Coach Bruce Turner said.
ELAC the state’s No. 4-ranked team struggled on offense against Compton zone defense, failing to put consecutive productive offensive possessions together.
“We underestimated them (Compton). I came in thinking it was going to be an easy win, but it was far from that,” ELAC forward Jocelyne Diaz said.
With five minutes remaining in the first half and playing with a six-player rotation Compton was tied with ELAC at 19.
“Our offense didn’t execute in the first half, but we came out with more energy in the second half. We started playing ELAC basketball,” Turner said.
After closing out the first half on a 13-4 run, ELAC led 32-23. The Huskies never trailed the rest of the game building a 54-32 lead to start the second half.
Led by the leadership of Diaz and ELAC guard Kyla Martin-Burnley, the Huskies pulled away from the Beavers erasing any hope of a major upset.
“We learn that we can’t take any team lightly. We have a really good team this season and every team is coming after us,” Diaz said.
Diaz had 13 points, shooting 6-for-7 from the field while grabbing nine rebounds. Martin-Burnley added 16 points, shooting 5-for-9 from the field with three assist and five steals.
“We could have played better, but we worked on some things that will help us moving forward,” Martin-Burnley said.
With the victory ELAC’s overall record is 17-2, 2-1 in the South Coast Conference North Division. Compton falls to 0-12, 0-3.
The lone star for the Tartars was center Ifeoma Okaro, who scored a game-high 32 points, shooting 15-for-27 from the field and grabbing 14 rebounds.
“We played against a good player. We tried to stop her (Okaro), but she made some tough shots,” Turner said.
Turner said coming into this game he wanted to have the opportunity to give some minutes to all his players to try new things on offense.
ELAC will travel to Los Angeles Trade Tech College to face the Beavers ( 8-8, 1-1 ) Jan 16 at 7 p.m.
“We are going to face a zone defense when we face Trade Tech. We have to prepare and work on our offensive plan to beat the zone,” Martin-Burnley said.