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IVC women advance

March 03, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

The Imperial Valley College women's basketball team came a step closer to making its season-long goal of going to the state playoffs a reality with a 67-53 playoff victory over Cypress College at IVC on Saturday.

While the final deficit was 14 points, things didn't come easily for the Arabs as they played most of the first half with two of their starters, center Jello Moore and power forward Marquita Travis, on the bench with three fouls each.

More pressure was put on the shoulders of IVC's remaining starters and backups Melissa Williams and Marta CedeƱo. The play of Williams made things easier for the Arabs as she shut down Cypress center Annie Teeter.

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"I thought Melissa did a great job on their big girl. She shut her down and just really shut down the entire middle," said Arab coach Jill Tucker.

"Those fouls in the first half really bothered me. And we really didn't know what kind of team Cypress would be. We had a lead at half, but we didn't know if they were the kind of team that would come back in the second half and make a run or what," said Tucker.

Despite the absences of Moore and Travis, IVC held a 33-26 lead at the break, led by point guard LaToya Jackson with 13 points and Williams with six.

"I think everyone on the team felt the pressure in that first half when (Moore and Travis) went out," said Williams. "When I went in, I just did what the coaches told me to do."

Added Jackson: "I think everyone just tried to keep their composure. When (Moore and Travis) went out, I knew we just had to step it up even more. It wasn't just me that had to, everyone did."

Whatever the coaches told Williams to do worked as she held Teeter to four first-half points. Williams finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two steals.

Entering the second half with a seven-point lead, IVC, with Travis and Moore back on the floor, picked up the offensive pace as it began the half on a 12-6 run to extend its lead to 45-32.

Leading that offensive barrage was Moore, who scored eight points.

The Chargers were forced to play catch-up but couldn't get any closer than 55-47 with 3:51 seconds to play.

While the Cypress offense got it back in the game, defensively it could do little to stop Jackson and Moore, who combined for 21 of the team's 34 second-half points.

Moore finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks and an assist. Also contributing was Sandra Ramos, who had 20 rebounds, 13 points, two assists and a block. Jackson finished with 21 points, seven steals, six assists and a rebound.

"I think this game was about us having that grit and determination not to get beat," said Jackson. "We're not ready to go home yet. We want to keep on playing. We're happy with this win and it feels good, but we're not content with just one win. We were determined to beat Cypress. Now we're determined to beat Cerritos."

Added Tucker: "We've said from the beginning of the season that we needed to get into the playoffs. Now that we're here, now every game really counts. We have our sights set on going to state and this team has been working extremely hard during practice to get to that point and fulfill our goals."

The Arabs continue the southern regional playoffs as they travel to Norwalk to play No. 2 seed Cerritos College at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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