Lady Cougars defeat College of the Sequoias and Merced

Taft College struggled through most of the Central Valley Conference women’s basketball season, losing close games.

However, the Cougars finished strong last week with two close victories of their own to close out the season on a positive note.

“This was a good week,” beamed coach Tyrone Taylor Saturday night after his team lead from start to finish to earn a 69-60 victory over College of the Sequoias, the second place team in the conference.

“I thought we played really well down the final stretch,” he said.  “We didn’t have as many turnovers.  That made a big difference.  And, we made lay-ups and free throws.”

The Cougars have struggled at the line, but strong free throw shooting kept Sequoias from catching up.

Sophomore forward Theresa Henderson and freshman guard Desiree Pierce came through in the clutch, scoring the Cougars’ last 19 points – 13 of them from the free throw line.

Pierce came off the bench to can 9-of-10 free throws in the last seven minutes of the game.

Henderson, the team’s leading scorer, hit three field goals and 4-of-5 free throws down the stretch.  All three of the field goals were pressure jumpers and – combined with Pierce’s steady hand from the line – kept Sequoias (16-11, 6-4 CVC) from making a run.

The win followed a 57-54 victory three nights earlier in Merced.

The Cougars finished the season 3-7 in the conference and 9-17 overall.

“When you think about all the close losses we had, it was good to finish on a high note and give us a lift going into next season,” Taylor said.  “We have a lot of very good freshmen.”

The Cougars led from the start, jumping out to a 9-2 lead and pushing it to as many as 13 points (30-17) before settling for a 32-23 halftime lead.

Sequoias never got closer than four in the second – 48-44 with 8:49 left.   That’s when Henderson and Pierce took over.

The two halves were a contrast at the line.

In the first half the Cougars were 2-of-6 but in the second half 17-of-20.

Henderson finished with 20 points to lead the Cougars.

Freshman center Jasmine Green scored 12 points and blocked six shots.

Dawnisha Perry, one of three sophomores making their last appearance as a Cougar, led the team in rebounds with 13. 

Pierce scored 11 points – all from the line – while Christina Taylor had 10 to give the Cougars four players in double figures.

In the win over Merced, it was solid field goal shooting that paved the way.

The Cougars made 22 of 52 (42 percent) including 5-of-9 from three-point range.

TC held a three point (30-27) lead at the half and managed to hold off the Blue Devils in the second half.

Game summary:

Sequoias (60)—Simoni 1 0-0 2, Murphy-Jiles 5 3-6 13, Martin 2 0-0 4, Samson 1 4-4 7, Reeves 7 9-15 23, Corona 3 3-4 11.  Totals: 19 19-29 60.
Cougars (69)—Clark 0 2-2 2, Pierce 0 11-13 11, Perry 3 0-2 6, Taylor 4 0-0 10, Henderson 8 4-5 20, Green 5 2-3 12, Moorer 1 0-0 2, Day 3 0-1 6.  Totals: 24, 19-26 69
Halftime: Taft 32, Sequoias 23