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Women's Basketball: Pirates rally for victory

OCC holds Irvine Valley without field goal for nearly 16 minutes to move into second in OEC.

February 05, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

Some 23 games in, the Orange Coast College women's basketball team is pretty much on Coach Mike Thornton's last nerve. But after coming from behind to secure a 57-49 Orange Empire Conference triumph over visiting Irvine Valley on Wednesday, the Pirates are also perhaps just two crucial road victories from at least a share of the conference championship.

OCC, which missed 14 of its first 15 field-goal attempts had just three points for the first 9 minutes, 15 seconds of the game, and trailed, 22-10, with 5:37 left in the first half, improved to 14-9, 5-2 in conference.

The Pirates' win enabled them to move ahead of Cypress and into second place in the seven-team conference, one-half game behind Cypress (5-3), which lost to Fullerton on Wednesday, and one full game behind first-place Saddleback (6-1).

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OCC visits Cypress on Friday at 5:30 p.m., before heading to Saddleback on Tuesday, also at 5:30 p.m.

"It's an interesting year to say the least," Thornton, in his 25th season at the helm, said after his team deployed a seldom-used man-to-man defensive scheme to help turn the tide against the Lasers. "I feel like we're more managers than coaches because we don't practice hard and we only play hard at times in games. But the good thing is, we're 5-2 in conference and the two losses, we could have won. So you can't really say, in terms of wins and losses, that we could be any better off. But at the same time, it's frustrating."

Though OCC, which had just three players score in the first half, was out-rebounded, 49-33, including 19 offensive rebounds for the Lasers, and shot only 64.7% from the free-throw line, had its share of poor production and, Thornton said, poor execution, it was the Lasers who experienced even more futility.

After sophomore Jasmine Kennon sank the Lasers' fifth three-pointer to create a 22-10 advantage with 8:21 left in the first half, Irvine Valley (15-10, 4-4), which had won four straight games, went 15:59 without a field goal. IVC did make three free throws during the stretch, which included an 18-0 OCC run to end the first half and begin the second.

Kennon, who led all scorers with 20, put back an offensive rebound to break the field-goal drought with 12:22 left in the game, by which time, OCC had fashioned a 38-25 advantage.

During the drought, IVC missed 11 consecutive field-goal attempts and committed 12 of its 20 turnovers.

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