Pirates handle Cuesta

COSTA MESA — The Orange Coast College women's basketball team's motto this season is "Win the Day."

Some days are easier than others, of course, and Friday night's 75-42 romp over Cuesta in the quarterfinals of the Erin Tomlinson Coast Christmas Classic at OCC, was one of the lightest days of the season for the Pirates (11-2).

OCC, ranked No, 17 in the state and No. 10 in Southern California, dominated throughout to extend its winning streak to seven and advance to the semifinals against Chaffey (9-4), tonight at 7.

Chaffey, ranked No. 13 in the state and No. 9 in Southern California, which OCC Coach Mike Thornton said the Pirates embarrassed in an 86-71 semifinal triumph in the semifinals of the Irvine Valley Tournament on Dec. 10, blew out El Camino, 68-32, Friday.

Blowout was the theme early for the Pirates against Cuesta (2-9), which struggled to keep its point total on par with its turnovers (35).

OCC scored on its first six possessions and with the Cougars missing their first six field-goal attempts, the hosts had a 15-0 lead just 3:40 into the contest.

The lead was 29-15 with 3:44 left in the first half and the remainder of the game was basically extended garbage time.

Playing for the first time this season against a matchup zone, OCC consistently worked for quality shots, whipping the ball around the perimeter and displaying unselfishness with inside-outside cohesion.

"I thought we shared the ball well tonight," said Thornton, who had only an occasional defensive lapse with which to quibble. "I thought we looked for each other and we made the extra pass. When we shoot the ball as well as we did that first part of the game, it looks good."

A handful of Pirates looked good, led by sophomores Samantha Hansen, Alyssa Hanson and Amanda Deal.

Hansen made six of eight field-goal attempts on her way to 14 points, while adding a team-best eight rebounds.

Hanson amassed 10 assists to go with nine points, collecting three of the team's 12 three-pointers.

Deal made four straight three-point tries spanning late in the first half and early in the second, and accounted for all of her team-high 15 points from beyond the arc, sinking five of nine from threedom.

Sophomore reserve Helena Robel had nine of her 11 points in the first half, while freshman Sami Little had seven points, two assists and two steals to help OCC win the bench-scoring battle, 29-2.

Sophomore point guard Michelle Yamasaki had two three-pointers in the opening six minutes on her way to six points, three assists and three steals.

Starter Jessica Vingerelli had five boards, two points and one assist, adding to the kind of well-rounded contributions that have keyed the Pirates' recent winning streak.

The 33-point win matched the biggest margin of the season for the Pirates, who thumped Allan Hancock, 85-52, on Dec. 3. The 42 points allowed were the fewest given up by the Pirates this season, as they held the Cougars to 29.5% shooting (13 of 44 from the field).

It was by far the worst dismantling of the Cougars, whose biggest loss coming in was by 10 points. Cuesta had absorbed its previous eight losses by an average of just more than seven points.

Thornton praised Hanson, who played just 18 minutes as seven Pirates' reserves, six of which scored, played liberally.

"She has become a real leader," Thornton said of Hanson. "She plays that backup point guard spot for us, which has helped a lot."

OCC, which had 19 turnovers, pushed its lead to as many as 37.

The Pirates are attempting to win their own tournament for the third time in the last eight seasons, the first time since 2007.

Erin Tomlinson Coast

Christmas Classic

Quarterfinal

Orange Coast 75,

Cuesta 42

Cuesta – Sheldon 12, Bauermeister 4, Salim 15, Warner 7, Manners 2, Daly 2.

3-pt. goals – Salim 1.

OCC – Hansen 14, Vingerelli 2, Deal 15, Hanson 9, Yamasaki 6, Robel 11, Little 7, Pikula 4, Page 4, August 2, Terukina 1.

3-pt. goals – Deal 5, Hanson 3, Yamasaki 2, Robel 1, Little 1.

Halftime – OCC, 41-21.

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