Defense propels Glendale college women’s basketball to tournament victory

GLENDALE — Aggressive defense was the key to the Glendale Community College women’s basketball team’s opening-round game in their home tournament.

In the opening minutes of the game, the Vaqueros forced two quick turnovers that set the tone for the remainder of the contest.

Glendale college comfortably advanced to the second round of the Glendale College Holiday Tournament with a 60-42 win against Allan Hancock on Wednesday.

“You have to win the first one if you want to reach the championship game, and that is our goal,” Glendale coach Joel Weiss said. “I thought our defensive intensity was really good.

“We had a lull in the second quarter, but the first, third and fourth quarters we were pretty aggressive and pretty committed on that end. We held them to 42 points, but in that second, we lost it for a little bit and then we found it in the second half.”

The victory was the Vaqueros’ seventh straight dating back to a Nov. 16 triumph against Chaffey. Glendale also won the Allan Hancock Tournament earlier this month.

In the all-around effort, Glendale (9-1) got double-digit scoring efforts from sophomore guard Cheyenne Jankulovski and sophomore forward Sylvia Vartazarian, was buffered by a bench that outscored the visitors, 23-5.

Vartazarian, a Glendale High product, had a team-high 14 points and added 11 rebounds. Jankulovski scored 13 points and provided seven assists.

Allan Hancock guard Danielle Morgan was the lone Bulldogs player to score in double-digits with a team-high 13 points.

“The one thing I can say about our kids is that they are very committed to one another,” Weiss said. “It’s one of the best groups I’ve had in terms of teamwork. They’re super, mentally tough, disciplined [and] competitive. So when you get that from five people and people coming off the bench … I thought they did a good job.”

A pair of steals in the opening two minutes from Jankulovski and former La Cañada guard Tess Oakley-Stilson gave the Vaqueros control for much of the first quarter.

Glendale’s early 4-0 lead stretched to a 12-4 advantage midway into the first before another Jankulovski steal at the four-minute mark made it a double-digit Glendale lead, 14-4.

The Vaqueros’ pressure continued to discombobulate the Bulldogs (6-4), as the home side closed the quarter with a 21-8 cushion.

“It made our intensity carry on to throughout the game,” Jankulovski said. “In the second quarter, we kind of gave [it] up. We knew their plays — we knew everything.”

Indeed, the Vaqueros opened the second period with a layup from sophomore guard and Burroughs graduate Melissa Sandoval at the 8:25 mark, but struggled to score for the next 2:35.

Despite the scoring drought, the Bulldogs weren’t able to cut into the deficit and a Vartazarian steal woke up the Vaqueros to head to halftime with a 32-21 lead.

“We were ready from the beginning,” Vartazarian said. “We were coached very well [and] usually when we need to get it together, we end up getting it together.

The Vaqueros again fell into a scoring slump to open the half and this time the Bulldogs were able to cut the lead to 32-23.

But a Vartazarian put-back at 6:33 propelled Glendale to an 8-0 scoring run to restore a double-digit, 40-23, advantage.

The Vaqueros outscored the Bulldogs, 14-7, after the visitors held a 13-11 second-quarter scoring advantage.

Vartazarian saved a ball from going out of bounds with a back pass to freshman guard and Crescenta Valley product Sarah Perez for a mid-range jumper that put Glendale ahead by 48-28 early in the fourth quarter.

Glendale college faces Riverside College in the second round of the tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Tigers advanced to the second round after Los Angeles Southwest College pulled out of the tournament due to a lack of players.

Twitter: @ReporterVince