Loss puts Lady Vaqs' playoff hopes in doubt

SANTA MONICA — Saturday night will go down as one of those games the Glendale Community College women's basketball team would just as soon forget.

The Vaqueros struggled to find any rhythm on offense, couldn't contain the Santa Monica College duo of Zedra Slaton and Jasmine English and, as a result, dropped an 82-56 Western State Conference South Division contest at Santa Monica.

The victory for the Corsairs completes a season sweep of the Vaqueros after Santa Monica won the previous outing 71-59 on Jan. 16.

Glendale college's postseason aspirations took a serious hit with the loss, as the Vaqueros need to finish in the top two in conference to qualify for the playoffs. Now, Glendale will likely have to win its three remaining games and hope for help in order to get in.

“We just weren't here,” said Vaqueros Coach Monica Hang, whose club dropped to 17-12 overall and 5-4 in conference. “We weren't ready. Too many turnovers, we couldn't buy a basket. We just let this one go.”

Slaton, who finished with a game-high 21 points, did most of her damage inside the paint as the 5-foot-9 freshman grabbed nine rebounds. English used an array of turnaround jumpers to collect her 17 points. In total, 11 of the 12 players on the Corsairs' roster wound up scoring.

“They are very athletic,” Hang said of the Corsairs' duo. “The matchups were hard again. But we didn't do the things we were supposed to do, as well. We just let them shoot it over us instead of having our hands up.”

The Vaqueros were paced by freshman guard Susana Rascon's 12 points. Rascon was the lone Vaquero in double figures, as Mackenna Karasawa chipped in nine points and five assists and Glendale High product Joy Joaquin added eight points.

Glendale college jumped out to an 11-8 lead after Shantelle Maya, who hauled down 12 rebounds, knocked down a free throw.

Two quick hoops from freshman guard Grazia Rendon put the Vaqueros in front 15-11, but it was all Corsairs after that.

Santa Monica (14-11, 6-2) reeled of the next nine points and outscored Glendale 26-10 the remainder of the half to grab a 37-25 halftime lead.

Karasawa opened the second half by knocking down a runner to bring the Vaqueros within 10, but that's as close as they would ever get.

Any hopes of a comeback in the second half were quickly put to rest by an 11-2 Corsairs run that directly followed Karasawa's basket.

“We just didn't play well offensively and defensively,” said Hang, who led the Vaqueros to a 20-win season last year.

Freshman Laura Armenian, a Glendale High grad, came off the bench to drain two three-pointers and finished with six points.

The Corsairs added insult to injury by continuing to press the Vaqueros for nearly the entire game despite holding a 20-plus point lead for much of the second half.

Hang, whose team will return to action to host Citrus College on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., hopes her team took the defeat personally and can respond.

“It just comes down to pride and heart,” said Hang, who is in her third year at Glendale college. “I hope they learned a huge lesson today. They got their butts kicked. … I hope that they take that anger and use it on the court.”

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