By Dan Gudino
Sophomore guard Allissa Gomez scored 14 points in overtime, sending women’s basketball to the Elite Eight of the state playoffs after an intense 70-64 win at home against Pasadena City College on Saturday.
With two minutes to go in the game, Gomez splashed a go-ahead jump shot, falling to the floor on her back as she was fouled. She then closed the game with five straight free throws and two steals.
“I was able to take over because coach (Bruce Turner) always talks about point guards having to keep their heads up and look where to create. So I was lucky enough to look for an option. It was my shot,” said Gomez of her clutch shooting.
Gomez said the team members encouraged each other in the locker room and made necessary changes.
“We knew they came to play hard when it became a big worry in the last couple of seconds before overtime,” Gomez said.
East Los Angeles College freshman guard Monica Garcia was suspended for last week’s round two victory against Santa Ana College, but had an exceptional game on Saturday. She is a candidate for Freshman of the Year for leading the team in scoring, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate for her play off the bench, and is one of the most effective players, ranking No. 6 in shooting (54 percent).
Garcia finished Saturday with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
“We’re the only team that can beat us. We can only beat ourselves. We get everyone’s best, everyone’s best take, every single night. When you’re one of the top teams, it’s tough to stay focused. It’s something we’ll work on this week,” Garcia said.
Facing a taller lineup, ELAC was outworked in the paint, scoring 32 points and grabbing 42 rebounds compared to Pasadena’s 42 points and 53 rebounds.
“They were hungry. They (PCC) knew it was win-or-go-home and we knew they were going to fight every single possession. They threw us off when they went with a big lineup. We adjusted,” assistant coach Sarai Trinidad said.
ELAC’s offense was not able to find a rhythm in the first half because PCC went with a tall lineup.
The Huskies were not able to get shots over, as PCC players on the court were 5 feet 9 inches and above, and were forced to drive to the rim. It was not a typical ELAC game.
“We didn’t have our best offensive game. We hung around in the first half, but we missed free throws that allowed Pasadena to stay closer than we’d like. The second half was all about pulling ourselves out of our own trouble. Every team in the playoffs is dangerous,” said Turner.
For the first time since Dec. 17, ELAC sophomore guard Tiffani Martinez did not make a threepoint shot and finished with two points, her second lowest total of the season.
ELAC sophomore guard Wuanyei Ah-hing made up for the lack of threes in the fourth period and overtime, hitting nothing but net in two attempts. She was the only other player, along with Gomez to score in overtime.
Ah-hing finished with eight points, two rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes of play.
ELAC is 3-0 against PCC this season and extends its win streak to four games against Pasadena, dating back to last year’s first round playoff win.
ELAC will face College of the Siskiyous (29-1), tomorrow at 3 p.m. Siskiyous is the No. 3 seed from the North.
It’s only loss came Nov. 11 against Sierra College, a team ELAC beat Dec. 17 in San Francisco, 74-69.
Siskiyous’s win streak is at 27 games, the longest in the state.