Hansen helps Pirates relax, claim crown

Sophomore scores 25 to key 62-59 win over host IVC in tournament final and earn MVP honor.

December 11, 2010|By Barry Faulkner,

IRVINE — Samantha Hansen says all it takes to cure her notorious case of pregame nerves is the opening tip. But it was crunch time in which the Orange Coast College sophomore appeared most at ease Saturday.

Hansen, whom OCC women's basketball coach Mike Thornton said may get as nervous before a game as any player he has had in four decades, scored nine points in the final 5:48 in the Pirates' 62-59 win over Irvine Valley in the championship game of the Irvine Valley Tournament on the Lasers' floor.

Hansen, a 6-foot forward, scored 16 of her game-high 25 points after halftime and also led the Pirates (10-2) with seven rebounds. She made nine of 15 field-goal tries, mostly on mid-range jumpers, to earn the tournament's Most Valuable Player award. It's the second straight tournament MVP trophy for Hansen, who paced the Pirates to the crown at the Cuesta Tournament one week prior.


Hansen's most important production came after IVC (6-5) rallied from a 41-31 deficit to take a 50-49 lead with 6:01 remaining. She netted a 10-footer to put the Pirates back on top for good with 5:48 left and added two more free throws and a five-foot jumper during an 8-0 OCC run that spanned 79 seconds and left them with a 57-50 edge.

Then, after IVC broke a scoreless drought of more than four minutes to close within five, Hansen's three-point play upped the lead to 60-52 with 1:45 left.

Sophomore Amanda Deal (10 points) netted two free throws with eight seconds left to lock up the sixth straight win for the Pirates, ranked No. 10 in Southern California and No. 17 in the state.

"I always get nervous [before a game], then after the jump ball, I'm fine," said Hansen, who leads OCC in scoring at 15.8 points per game.

But when it comes to finding shots in the Pirates' half-court offense, Hansen said there is nothing to be anxious about.

"I'm very comfortable," Hansen said of her offensive role, which typically involves being fed consistently in the lane with passes from her teammates on the perimeter.

Hansen is also feeling good about the strong start to the season for the Pirates, who were 16-13 a year ago and missed the playoffs for the first time in 19 seasons.

"I'm very satisfied," she said with the team's early performance. "We're on a roll right now."

It was the Lasers, who upset College of the Canyons, ranked fifth in SoCal and No. 8 in the state, in Friday's semifinals to get an unexpected meeting with their Orange Empire Conference rivals, who were on a roll at the outset Saturday.

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