Pirates advance to State Final Four with 73-56 win over Sierra
LEMOORE -- The Orange Coast College women's basketball team picked up win No. 30 at the perfect time as the Pirates topped Sierra, 73-56, on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the California Community College Athletic Association Women's Basketball State Championships, hosted by West Hills College Lemoore.
With the win, the South's No. 1 seeded Pirates (30-1) will advance to the State Final Four for the first time since the 2005-06 season when they host Santa Rosa (28-2) on Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m.
"We are so stoked to be here and it's so exciting and special to get this far," OCC head coach Sammy Doucette said. "This group is just so locked in and works so hard. I couldn't ask for anything else."
It was another stellar evening for sophomore standout Meghan McIntyre, who led the Pirates with 21 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. One HUGE contributor besides the normal starting five came from sophomore forward Ashlee Dorantes, who made the most of her 18 minutes of action, scoring a season-high 13 points.
"Meghan is 1-of-1 on the floor," Doucette said of the uniqueness of McIntyre. She finds a way and if she can't find a way, she will find a way to find a way. Ashlee stepped up HUGE for us. I'm so proud of her. We needed her to step up and she did."
Karina Cabrera and Annie Trinh each had 13 points, while Gabby Samiy tossed in 11 to go with seven rebounds.
For the upset-minded, 10th-seeded Wolverines (20-12), their freshman-heavy team just couldn't find the bottom of the basket enough as the Pirate defense clamped down and held them to 34.8% shooting for the night (24-of-69) to go along with 16 turnovers. After winning the state title a year ago, Sierra returned to the big dance with just one sophomore, Christiane Carlisle and she wrapped up her stellar Wolverine career with 12 points and five assists. OCC's perimeter defense held her to just 5-of-20 shooting from the floor and just 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
Coast had to withstand a furious Sierra spurt to start the game and managed to do just that. Trailing 12-11 with just over four minutes remaining, OCC's defense stiffened up and held the Wolverines scoreless the rest of the quarter. Meanwhile, a Cabrera 3-pointer and three points from McIntyre helped push the Pirates in front 17-12 after the opening 10 minutes.
The lead grew to 21-12 as the Sierra drought continued into the early parts of the second quarter. In fact, Sierra was held to just two points through the first seven minutes of the second quarter as the Pirates' lead grew to 29-14.
Julianne Cotterill, who led Sierra with 19 points, helped get the Wolverines to within nine late in the first half, but OCC responded with points of its own and carried a 34-22 lead into the break.
Sierra would not threaten the Pirates the rest of the way as the steady offense from McIntyre, Cabrera, Samiy, Trinh and Dorantes helped push OCC's lead to as many as 24 in the third.
The Wolverines refused to give up, but the Pirates maintained their focus and controlled the game the rest of the way.