Pirates finally lose edge

OCC rallies to have chance to force OT, but last-second three-pointer misfires and Cypress advances to final four.

March 05, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — An Orange Coast College women's basketball team known for its collection of cliffhangers, took one more opponent to the edge Saturday night.

But this time, it was Cypress, on a bit of a magical run of its own, that prevailed, 49-46, to advance to the state final four.

True to form, the Pirates (24-9), who have won six of seven one-point decisions and all four of their overtime contests this season, pared an 11-point deficit with 3:53 remaining to 47-46 with 1:23 left.

Cypress (21-10) missed two front ends of one-and-one free-throw situations on its next two possessions, but OCC failed to capitalize.

Cypress sophomore Micaela Pickens, the Orange Empire Conference MVP, converted two foul shots with 21 ticks remaining and OCC called timeout with 15 seconds left to try to set up a game-tying three-pointer.

But some confusion on the play — a familiar theme for both offenses as both teams applied substantial defensive pressure —led to an off-balanced 28-foot three-point try that beat the buzzer, but failed to draw iron.


The loss ends the season for OCC, the No. 5-seeded team in the Southern California Regional playoffs.

No. 9-seeded Cypress, which lost both regular-season conference games against OCC by one point, ventures to Ventura College for the equivalent of the state's biggest dance.

"We didn't have another miracle in us, I guess," said 22nd-year OCC coach Mike Thornton, who will wait till next year to record his 500th win at the school. He is 499-219, an impressive average of 22.7 wins per season, and has made the playoffs 20 of those 22 campaigns. "And [a miracle] is what it would have taken, because we played poorly really, pretty much most of the game."

OCC shot 28.8% from the field (17 of 59) and 23.3% from three-point range (seven for 30), and committed 20 turnovers. The Pirates went nine minutes spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second, without a point and had a stretch of 8:39 later in which it did not manage a field goal.

Cypress, which had 22 turnovers, was outrebounded, 41-38, and shot 36% from the field (18 for 50), used an 11-2 run during OCC's second major offensive lull to claim a 45-33 advantage with 4:26 left.

OCC's Alyssa Hanson, an all-conference sophomore, was one for 12 from the field, while Amanda Deal, another all-conference sophomore, was three for 10 and missed her final six attempts, including all four in the second half.

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