The state’s No. 2 women’s basketball team swarmed all over hopelessly outmanned Taft College Wednesday night to remain undefeated in the Central Valley Conference.
The talented, depth-laden Rams used full-court pressure to force 18 turnovers in the first half alone as they rolled to a 99-49 victory on TC’s home floor.
It was 57-30 at halftime.
Taft played hard in the second half, cutting down on the turnovers, but had problems scoring.
“We missed too many shots in the second half,” said head coach Tyrone Taylor. “We played better and took better care of the ball, but missed so many lay-ups. We only scored 19 points.”
Although TC played the Rams tough over the first four minutes of the game, trailing just 10-8, Fresno’s helter-skelter pressure wilted TC’s resolve. Ten minutes later it was 41-16.
All 13 Fresno players saw action – plenty of it.
Coach Brian Tessler, whose team went undefeated in CVC play last year and made it to the Final Four of the state tournament, substitutes liberally. It’s common to see 3, 4, even 5 Rams checking into the game at any given time.
“They always have fresh legs on the floor,” said Taylor, who had just eight players available since starting center and leading rebounder Bezait Anbesse went down with an ankle injury.
Twelve of the 13 Rams scored, led by Madison Parish’s 23. Four other players scored in double figures.
Freshman guard Ramonique Redding led the Cougars with 14 points as every Cougar who suited up scored. Redding also had 6 rebounds.
The team’s leading scorer, Erica Evans, was the only other Cougar in double figures with 10 – half her average.
Crystallyn Faletoi got the start at center in place of Anbesse and scored 7 points and pulled down 6 rebounds.
Sophomore Zanoria Echols led the Cougars in rebounds with 12. As a team, TC had 42 rebounds.
Taft moves to 2-4 in conference play with the end of the first round. The Cougars are 7-14 overall heading into Saturday’s game at Reedley College to begin the last round of CVC action.
After that, TC will get Porterville (Feb. 9), Merced (Feb. 13) and Sequoias (Feb. 16) all at home.
Anbesse hopefully will be ready to return for the Porterville game, Taylor said.