The Lady Mustangs’ season came to a heartbreaking end in the California Community College Athletic Association tournament with a 60-53 defeat to the Mt. San Antonio College Mounties.
First team all-state Selina Moore finished as the Mustangs’ leading scorer with 20 points, but was held to a disappointing 5-21 shooting.
The ladies came out strong as the team built a quick eight-point lead early in the first half when sophomore Nishalina Buksh and freshman Brianna Smith hit three pointers.
“We got together as a team, and focused about coming out really strong,” said Sophomore Priscilla Mora in an interview a few days after the game. “We wanted to get the first punch in, and I felt like we accomplished that in the first half.”
The Mustangs defense bullied the Mounties, by holding the opposing team to 20 percent shooting (7-35) in the first 20 minutes of the game.
However, the Mustangs committed 12 team fouls putting the Mounties at the free throw line where Mt. SAC capitalized by hitting 10-15 attempts.
“We never agreed on what the refs calls, but there was some calls that were questionable,” said Moore in an interview a few days after the game. “As a player you feel that they’re not calling the same fouls. It is what it is, we had our advantages, and we just did not capitalize on them.”
The teams went into the half tied at 24.
The second half of the game started with a quick pace as both teams traded baskets causing the lead to change sides on multiple possessions.
With the Mustangs trailing 31-29, Moore hit a three-pointer to give the ladies the last lead of the game.
Then the Mounties offense came to life, as the team broke open a close game thanks to freshman Priscilla Lopez who scored seven points and sophomore John’ea Thompson, who scored 12.
The Mounties were also able to take advantage inside the paint, out scoring the ladies 28-14 as Mt. SAC built a 14-point lead with eight minutes left in the game.
The Mustangs hurt themselves, as the team had problems at the free-throw line, going 6-14 from the line in the second half and 8-19 overall for the game.
“There were tears flowing (at the end of the game) especially for sophomores cause its our last time in a Delta uniform,” said Moore. “It was a little emotional, but coach (Johnson) had supportive words. She was really proud of us. We come such a long way. It sucks losing, but it was a great season.”
The Lady Mustangs started the season shaky but finished the season on a 13-game winning streak, beating opponents by an average of 20 points.
“Coach had a lot of good things to say about us, and what we done,” said sophomore Marshanique Hall in an interview a few days after the game. “A lot of teams would of given up and for us to be the underdog and be able to accomplish a lot of things as the task that she wanted. We had to buy into the culture and our freshmen and sophomore did that.”
The Mustangs also captured a second consecutive Big 8 Conference title.
The team finished the season with a 27-6 overall record.
The trip to the CCCAA Final Four is the Lady Mustangs’ second in two years, a first for the program.
With the freshmen class returning and the recruited freshmen coming in, head coach Gina Johnson is looking to have a well-built team for another run next year.