Ranked 11 in Southern California, the Lady Vaqueros basketball team beat 2004 Pacific Coast Conference champions Imperial Valley College 72-69 on Wednesday at the college gymnasium.
During the first half, the Vaqueros had complete control over the game. The defense from Imperial Valley was very weak.
At one point, the Vaqueros were up by 11 points (21-11). Freshman Deanna Barajas scored the first two baskets two minutes into the game.
Sophomore Helen Suarez scored 7 points, five free throws and one 2-pointer field goal. Paola Gupilan scored three 3-pointers and a 2-pointer.
IVC began to catch up near the end of the first half. Rachel Zajdel from IVC made the last three shots before the end of the half for her team, bringing them up from 30 to 34, with the final score of the first half 39-34.
In the second half, IVC proved to be somewhat of a threat for the Vaqueros. They managed to take the lead by 5 points (41-46) and maintain the lead until Blanca Collazo tied them 64-64, scoring a 2-pointer with five minutes to go.
Barajas’ 3-pointer at 12 minutes moved the Vaqueros to 67-66 and Gupilan 3-pointer put the Vaqueros at 70-69. The winning points came from Collazo as she made two free throws.
“We came into this game knowing they beat someone we had lost to,” said Gupilan. “We struggled through the defense. I’m the tallest player on our team and I’m 5’10. They’re all my size and height and we already knew that they were bigger and stronger. We had to work extra hard to get rebounds. We were down by 11 at one point with three minutes left.”
The next 50 seconds were intense and stressful as the Vaqueros tried to kill time and IVC tried to go against it. The clock stopped when a Gatorade bottle rolled onto the court during the last 20 seconds. Nevertheless, it did not make a difference, and the Vaqueros won 72-69.
“We started off good,” Barajas said. “We had the lead and then we gave it away. Our defense was kind of lacking, but then it came back. We played hard and we won.”
“We just take it one game at a time, keep improving as a team, keep getting better. [We don’t] look too far ahead. [We] get stronger, and better at offense and defense,” said Vaquero coach Monica Hang.
Currently, they are a 6-2 in the season as they won Moorpark College (90-52) and San Diego (74-65) at the Desert Thanksgiving Classic in Palm Springs, despite losing to Arizona’s Cochise College (93-65).
The Lady Vaqueros have their next game at Salinas for the Hartnell Classics which will be held from Friday to Sunday.