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Bench contributes in IVC win

January 24, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — On the schedule it said the Imperial Valley College women's basketball team was to play Cuyamaca College in Pacific Coast Conference action here Wednesday.

What was supposed to be a conference matchup, however, turned out to be little more than a glorified practice for the Arabs as they destroyed the visitors 99-44.

It's not that the Cuyamaca Coyotes were that awful. It's just they ran into an IVC squad determined to redeem itself after Friday's conference-opening 85-84 overtime heartbreak loss at San Diego Mesa College.

"Today was definitely redemption from the Mesa game. For me, I feel the rest of the season I have to make up for how I played in that game," said IVC forward Marquita Travis. "To me, losing by one point like we did is a whole lot worse than getting blown out. That loss really hurt."


Travis came up huge for the Arabs, scoring 21 points and pulling down 15 rebounds (10 offensive) in only 20 minutes of action, as she and the rest of the starting five were able to sit out the final 10 minutes of each half due to the large leads.

"I made a promise to myself after that loss that from here on out I'm gonna give 125 percent in every game we play. So right now, I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season," said Travis.

With the game decided midway through the first half and IVC holding a 41-11 advantage, the Arabs looked to their bench to close the half.

With IVC's starting five having set the tempo, the five reserves went into the game and didn't miss a beat as they outscored Cuyamaca 22-5 over the final 10 minutes.

Leading that barrage was Dora Nava-Esparaza, who scored 11 points to help the Arabs to a 63-16 halftime lead.

"I really have to thank the first team for coming out and doing their job and giving us more playing time," said Nava-Esparza. "Some of us hardly get playing time, so I really didn't expect to have this good of a game."

The starting five went back into the game in the second half and outscored Cuyamaca 16-5 to up the advantage to 79-21 before taking a seat again.

With the IVC starters out, the Coyotes put together their best stretch as they went on a 7-0 run to dig slightly into the Arab lead.

Nava-Esparza came calling again. She started hitting from downtown, as she dropped three three-pointers on Cuyamaca to finish with a season-high 20 points.

With 16 seconds left in the game and up 98-41, IVC had an opportunity to hit the century mark as Marta Cedeño was at the free-throw line for two shots. But she only was able to hit one out of two to close Arab scoring at 99.

Also contributing in the win were Melissa Williams with 11 points and 11 rebounds, Sandra Ramos with 14 points, four rebounds and four blocks, LaToya Jackson with 10 assists and Jello Moore with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Even after disposing of Cuyamaca, IVC coach Jill Tucker still had the San Diego Mesa game fresh on her mind.

"Friday's loss, I thought we played poorly, but we still went into overtime and only lost by one," said Tucker. "The good thing about that was knowing how many mistakes we made, that we were still in position to win.

"So this week in practice we've been working extra hard because we're not going to let that happen again. I think that loss made us more focused," added Tucker.

IVC (15-6 overall, 1-1 PCC) plays at Palomar at 7 p.m. Friday.

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