By Rogelio Alvarez
Women’s Basketball (5-3) defeated conference rivals Rio Hondo (3-5) 81-58 last Friday at Rio.
The game was a must-win for East Los Angeles College, who is in contention for the Southern Coast North Conference title and a spot in the postseason.
ELAC came into the game seeking to make up a tough loss at home to Mt. San Antonio College (7-1). ELAC is 17-9 overall.
“We can’t take any opponent lightly. Today we just came out with better defensive pressure,” Assistant Coach Sarai Trinidad said.
Sophomore forward Monica Garcia lead the Huskies with most points and was a constant threat to Rio’s defense.
Garcia showed calm and confidence when making shots or shooting free throws.
“To me, if you perform good against bad teams, then it doesn’t really matter. You got to be able to perform against the good teams,” Garcia said.
After a slow first quarter, ELAC picked up the pace and pressed high in the court forcing turnovers from Rio.
ELAC finished off the game with a strong performance in the last quarter. ELAC outscored Rio 24-8 in the last quarter.
Freshman guard Jennifer Pool lead the attack with key assists.
Pool had a steal in the game and kept pressing against Rio’s offense.
Off the ball, Freshmen guard Elvira Leal and forward Mercedes Ortiz kept rotating their positions which made it difficult for Rio to complete passes.
“We started noticing other teams playing with a 2-2-1 but they don’t have the same rotation.
“We wanted to implement it and see if it would work,” Trinidad said.
ELAC’s aggressive pressing allowed them to maintain the lead throughout the first half and have a 15 point lead by halftime.
“We’re trying to incorporate a new press and we got to work on it,” Garcia said.
Freshman forward Dominique Godbolt physicality allowed her to muscle her way into Rio’s defense and keep the score up.
Godbolt was effective in recovering defensive and offensive rebounds.
Rio had a chance to tie the game and take the lead during the third quarter.
ELAC lowered its intensity and almost gave up the lead.
“I thought we were getting a little lax with the possession. I told them, ‘Just because we’re up by a couple of points doesn’t mean that the game is over,’” Trinidad said
“‘If you guys keep playing like this we’re going to go right back to school and run after the game is over.’”
Trinidad’s timeout pep talk motivated the Huskies and finished the third quarter by increasing the score gap between the two teams.
With two games left in conference play, ELAC travels away to Los Angeles Trade-Tech today at 5 p.m.
ELAC’s last conference game is at home to Chaffey College Friday at 5 p.m. in the South Gym.
ELAC must win both games if it wants to have any chance of playing in the postseason
“Hopefully we make playoffs. We think we’re one of the best teams in the state. Our record just doesn’t show it,” Garcia said.