GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College women’s basketball team eyed their 18th straight victory entering their Western State Conference game against a tough opponent in Antelope Valley on Wednesday.
The Vaqueros held their own after a challenging first quarter and led by 10 points midway in the fourth quarter. But Marauders made a scoring run and erased the deficit to tie the score with two minutes remaining.
However, with 3.7 seconds left, Glendale sophomore Penelopi Trieu found sophomore Tess Oakley-Stilson open in the post, and the La Cañada High graduate put up a teardrop game-winner to give the Vaqueros a 52-50 conference victory at home.
“We just relied on our defense,” Oakley-Stilson said. “We knew, eventually, shots would fall. Our team is very defense-oriented. We just knew we had to get some stops, we need to get in a rhythm and just try and pull it out.”
The Vaqueros’ 18-game winning streak is tied with Mount San Jacinto College for the state’s longest run. Glendale’s (18-1, 5-0 in conference) only loss of the year came in a nonconference season opener on Nov. 7 against Merced, 70-60.
“I think they do have the mentality that they can pull through,” Glendale coach Joel Weiss said. “Our defense was not what we would like in the fourth quarter, but give them credit for playing with energy and making some shots.
“I thought we showed unbelievable poise in the last possession. We got to our spot. We made good plays, and Penelopi found Tess, who hits her second one going to the basket with under a few seconds and scoring. Credit Tess for a big-time play.”
Marauders freshman Niyah Page hit three straight three-pointers to put Antelope Valley (8-11, 3-2) within five, 43-38, with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter.
The Vaqueros answered back, and a three-pointer from Trieu set up a 48-38 lead with 5:50 to go.
Back-to-back threes from the Marauders started an 8-0 run for the visitors that saw the Vaqueros lead dwindle to 48-46 with 4:13 left.
A pair of free throws from Glendale High graduate and Marauders sophomore Andrea Cruz tied the game at 48 with 2:07 remaining.
With 1:10 left, a jumper from Oakley-Stilson put the Vaqueros ahead, 50-48, but the Marauders tied it again moments later on a basket from sophomore Kianna Cross.
After a Vaqueros timeout with 11.6 remaining, an inbound pass from Vaqueros freshman Vicky Oganyan to Trieu chewed up most of the clock until the sophomore handed it off to Oakley-Stilson for the game-winner.
“For me, catching the ball was trusting that Tess was going to be in her spot and that she was trusting that I was going to make that pass,” Trieu said. “I feel like everyone knew she was going to make that. I don’t think there was a doubt in anyone’s mind.
“Even in tight games, I don’t get stressed anymore because I have so much faith in my team because I know that we work so hard.”
Oakley-Stilson scored six points in the fourth on her way to 12 points, while Trieu handed out seven assists. Vaqueros freshman Jada Aldana led the team with 14 points and Oganyan, a Glendale High graduate and current Burroughs High girls’ coach, finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Page led the Marauders with 17 points to go along with five rebounds. Cross recorded eight rebounds and sophomore Malaiya Patton finished with seven as the Marauders outrebounded the Vaqueros, 34-18.
The Vaqueros maintained most of the possession in the opening frame, but had trouble penetrating in the paint.
However, Glendale was able to hold on to a 9-6 lead at the end of a hotly contested quarter.
“They played a zone, which gave us some difficulty,” Weiss said. “We haven’t seen that much zone, so we have to be better at attacking that. Really, the cure to all offensive lulls is to make shots, so some nights, you can’t miss, and some nights it’s a little more difficult. I think we’ll shoot the ball better and I have confidence in our players. We just have to do a little better at attacking the zone.”
The Vaqueros enjoyed a 16-7 lead in the second quarter before Glendale fell into a four-minute scoring slump that saw the Marauders slash the lead to four points.
A three-pointer from Aldana sparked an 8-0 run in the second quarter to give the Vaqueros a 24-12 lead with 2:10 left.
Antelope Valley stopped the run with a basket from Cruz with 1:05 left to cut the Vaqueros lead to 24-14.
Aldana worked her way to the rim to score Glendale’s final points of the half before Antelope Valley freshman Sienna Rodriguez scored a tip-in at the buzzer to set up a 26-16 halftime score.
The Vaqueros freshman posted seven points in the quarter that all came in the final 4:15 of the half.
A pair of three-pointers from Oganyan lifted Glendale to a 34-20 lead at the 7:13 mark of thew third quarter, but the Vaqueros would endure a 5:13 long field goal drought.
Though Vaqueros converted a pair of free throws with 3:06 left in the third, the Marauders outscored the hosts, 9-2, to cut the lead to 36-29 with 2:16 to go in the period.
A pair of baskets from Aldana and Vaqueros freshman Polina Kovaleva closed the quarter with a 40-29 lead for Glendale.