GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College women’s basketball team made sure to make a strong opening statement in its first conference game against Barstow College Saturday at home.
In the opening quarter of the initial Western State Conference East Division game, the Vaqueros jumped to a 14-point lead with 4:22 left in the period.
The early lead set the tone, as Glendale college used the quarter as the blueprint for the rest of the game to finish off Barstow, 76-47, to open conference play on a high note.
Glendale had a slight mental lapse in the third quarter that saw its lead slightly chipped away to, 52-33, but Barstow had its own difficulties scoring and taking further advantage of the hosts’ slump.
“Our effort and intensity and approach to the first little bit of the game — really the first half — was really good,” Glendale coach Joel Weiss said. “It was very focused. It was tough-minded, disciplined and competitive, and that’s what we pride ourselves on or at least instill in our girls. I thought we did a great job playing the entire first half well.
“A little bit of bad shot selection in the third, but we got it back in the fourth.”
After a Barstow steal that led to a layup to tie the game in the opening seconds of the game, Glendale (13-4) set off on a 14-0 run after a pair of free throws from Silvia Vartazarian.
The Glendale High graduate scored six points to give the Vaqueros an 8-2 lead at the 7:11 mark before before La Cañada High product Tess Oakley-Stilson scored consecutive baskets to make it a 10-point lead.
The Vikings (4-12) finally made a basket with 3:30 left in the quarter off of a big three-pointer from sophomore Zoe Hartmann to make it 16-5.
“Any time we can get in a rhythm and we’re scoring and scoring, that definitely helps,” Oakley-Stilson said. “Just when the team, all together, when everyone’s shots are falling, it definitely helps.”
From there, Hartmann and Oakley-Stilson traded off shots, but the Vaqueros still topped the Vikings at the end of the quarter, 27-11.
Oakley-Stilson, a freshman, scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 15 points, while Hartmann’s hot scoring run posted eight in the period.
Vartazarian contributed eight points and two assists in the opening quarter and finished with 14 points.
The Vaqueros opened the second quarter with a steal that ended with a layup from Gloria Bianchi, followed by Glendale’s first three-pointer from Angel Castro to make it 32-11.
After the Vikings scored consecutive baskets to cut the Vaqueros’ lead to 17, Glendale went on a 10-0 scoring run for a 42-15 advantage with 4:22 left in the half.
Barstow went on its own mini-scoring 7-0 run right before halftime that cut Glendale’s lead to 47-23 at the half.
The Vaqueros opened the second half with one made field goal on six attempts in the first five minutes of play.
Though Glendale only scored on two sets of free throws in that span, Barstow also struggled to find its shot and barely made a dent into the Vaqueros lead, which was cut to 52-33 at the 6:04 mark.
“The first thing we had to do was build up the intensity and I think we kind of got quiet on defense, especially,” Oakley-Stilson said. “That passed on to the offensive side of the court, so we had to build the intensity, talk a little bit more and then move the ball quicker. After that, we kind of got into our rhythm again.”
Penelopi Trieu knocked down a three-pointer and Vartazarian came off the bench to score to give the Vaqueros a 59-35 lead in the fourth quarter.
“It was just a reminder that we’re really at our best when we’re moving it and taking rhythmic and balanced shots,” Weiss said. “We were rushing a few [in the third] and we need to get back to what we were doing in the first half.”
The Vaqueros found their groove early in the final quarter and went on a 9-0 run before Hartmann scored six straight points to cut the Glendale lead to 68-43 with 2:57 left.
Back-to-back threes from freshmen guards Zoe Rouse and Esmeralda Perez made it a 74-43 lead for Glendale with 2:16 left and solidified the conference opening victory.
“We have many more,” Oakley-Stilson said. “We can’t let this give us too much confidence and then brush aside the other ones. Every game is a new one, so we’re just going to keep going, one game at a time.”