'Worst half' dooms Glendale Community College women's basketball versus Los Angeles Valley

GLENDALE — It was a forgettable second half for the Glendale Community College women’s basketball team and one that ultimately led to a blowout loss to Los Angeles Valley College in a Western State Conference game Wednesday evening at home.

The Lady Vaqueros were outscored by 24 points in the second 20-minute frame by the Monarchs, who came into the contest undefeated in conference play and in first place. They will stay on top of the standings and extended their winning streak to seven games in the process after defeating Glendale, 93-65.

Despite trailing the entire way, GCC ended the first half strong, but the aggressive play faltered and the momentum wasn’t sustained. Valley, meanwhile, played consistently on both ends of the court and used an 8-0 run to start the second half to pull away from Glendale and cruise to a conference win.

“We didn’t come out ready to go,” Lady Vaqueros Coach Carrie Miller said. “We went away from what was working. We were taking care of the ball in the first and attacking, but we stopped doing that in the second half.

“It’s the worst half we’ve played all season.”

Glendale (12-10, 3-3) didn’t hit its first field goal in the second half until Elsie Mejia’s jumper at the 14:10 mark. The nearly six-minute drought allowed the Monarchs (19-5, 6-0) to stretch a slim four-point margin at halftime into 59-42 advantage when the freshman guard put in two of her nine second-half points and team-high 22 in the game.

The field goals were few and far between thereafter, as the Lady Vaqueros managed eight in the half and depended on the free throw line for 13 of their 29 points. Valley never let up and saw its lead balloon to as many as 33 points.

“Solid man-to-man defense,” said Monarchs Coach Monica Hang, when asked to attribute the dominating play, especially in the second half. “We were focused on every possession. On offense, we wanted to score every time and on defense, we wanted to make stops.”

Hang, a former GCC head coach, received balanced scoring, led by Ajai Ford’s 16 points, followed by Myangel Johnson’s 15 and 12 apiece from A’Jaee Foster and Chelsea Rhamdeow. Johnson added 16 rebounds.

As a team, the Monarchs outrebounded Glendale, 54-27, and relentless guard penetration aided in the team shooting 50.8% from the field.

“Move their feet,” said Miller, when asked what the team needed to do to prevent the openings. “We just watched.”

Mejia scored five unanswered to end the first half, highlighting an 11-5 run to cut Valley’s lead to 40-36 going into halftime. Earlier in the 20-minute frame, the Monarchs scored 11 unanswered before Gabriela Beltran stopped the bleeding with a drive. Mejia followed with one of her three treys that brought Glendale within 21-12. The rest of the half was a see-saw affair until Glendale’s late surge.

Unfortunately for the Lady Vaqueros, “the worst half they’ve played all season” soon followed and the 8-0 stretch proved to be a catalyst for a one-sided contest. Miller called a timeout 49 seconds into the half and in the midst of the run, but to little avail.

Glendale’s Samantha Pyros was the focal point of the offense late in the second half, scoring all 12 of her points, but it would be a lone bright spot for the Vaqueros.

Beltran finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mejia connected on all of Glendale’s three-pointers, as the team missed 21 attempts from behind the arc. Overall, GCC made 23 of 79 from the field (29.1%), largely due to suffocating defense from the Monarchs.

“We did what we practiced,” Hang said. “We didn’t change anything and played Valley College ball.”

Glendale College will look to put the loss behind them, as they stay home to host conference opponent West LA College, Saturday at 3 p.m.

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