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Arabs pound Palomar

January 25, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — If there was any question which women's basketball team is the one to beat in the Pacific Coast Conference, one might take a long look at the team that resides here.

The Imperial Valley College women's squad made a case for itself by hammering Palomar College 67-51 here Wednesday.

The Comets were riding above the rest of the PCC with a 2-0 record but the Arabs' attacking defense shut down Palomar as IVC took a piece of the league lead at 2-1.

While neither team seemed to play to its full potential, it was the fundamental things that made the difference for IVC.

The Arabs outrebounded the Comets 45-33. But a deciding factor was the Arabs' defense, which forced Palomar into 22 turnovers.

"Our defense was the difference tonight," said IVC coach Jill Tucker. "That's really what's been carrying us lately. It wasn't the best we've played, but our D is coming around."

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Leading the defense was point guard LaToya Jackson. Jackson finished with a game-high eight steals to go with a 13-point, six-assist effort. Her thievery started fast breaks and upped the Arabs' transition tempo.

"I was more focused and more relaxed out there," said Jackson. "That loss to Mesa kind of gave us more motivation coming into this game. So we all just came out and played hard."

From the first points scored to their last points recorded — all free throws from Sandra Ramos, who finished with a game-high 22 points and had eight rebounds — the Arabs never trailed.

In the opening minutes IVC utilized the strong inside games of Jello Moore and Ramos to take a three- point lead. Once the outside shooting of Jessica Prock got rolling it opened up an air assault from she and Ramos, which helped the Arabs tack onto their lead.

Working the inside/outside game, IVC used a 13-4 run to up its advantage to 13 points.

"Our team just couldn't get into the game. Everybody seemed to be flat," said Palomar coach Sherry Titus. "I think we were flat from the second we walked through the door."

That was most evident on the offensive end for the Comets as Oni Mauga seemed to be their only offensive weapon, scoring 10 of the team's first 15 points.

During a seven-minute stretch between the first and second half, though, Palomar used an 11-3 burst to cut into the Arabs' lead.

IVC responded as Jackson, Moore, Ramos and Lily Merancio combined to outscore the Comets 13-4 to extend the lead to 44-30. Moore finished with 16 rebounds, 12 points, four steals and a block.

Looking at a 14-point difference, Palomar hit the glass harder and took advantage of second-chance opportunities to get back into the game.

With the backcourt duo of Morgan Kirkpatrick and Lika Black heading the charge, the Comets cut the deficit to seven points.

That spread was short-lived as an overly aggressive Palomar defense kept committing fouls, enabling IVC to put away the game as it scored 11 of its last 13 points from the charity stripe.

Prock finished with 10 rebounds, nine points and two steals.

"This wasn't our best game but it was enough to get us the win," said Tucker. "Everyone played well tonight and it was a good, solid, all-around team effort."

IVC (15-9) returns to PCC action at 7 p.m. Friday as it travels to El Cajon to take on Cuyamaca College.

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