B-ball takes third in tournament

The Pierce College Women’s Basketball team finished third in the 2006 Rose City Classic Tournament in Pasadena last weekend.

The Brahmas’ third place finish in the annual tournament was the best in the team’s history.

Pierce beat Long Beach City College 74-70 in their first game in the tournament on Thursday.

The Brahmas lost to Foothill City College 78-57 on Friday in the semifinals. Pierce then beat Riverside City College 71-60 in the third place game on Saturday.

The Brahmas improved their season record to 12-3 with the strong showing in the tournament.

“We played together as a team. We had some players out and had some players come through for us,” said the Brahmas’ Head Coach Jim Couch. “I was impressed with the third place finish.”

The Brahmas started out slow against Riverside in the third place game when they fell behind 14-6 in the first five minutes.

Pierce then got a steal from point guard Teresha Coulson who got the ball to center Tiffany Henderson for a lay up and Pierce cut the lead to four points with 12:40 left in the first half.

The Tigers’ point guard Debbie Barragan hit a three point shot at 10:10 to give Riverside a six-point lead.

Brahma guard Jessica Yano then broke up a pass that led to a fast break after Coulson completed a perfect bounce pass to Yano for the lay-up and Pierce was up and running.

With a couple of 3-pointers by guard Kim Rodriguez, along with some key defensive plays by Coulson and lay-ups by Yano, Pierce grabbed the lead 33-32 with 3:10 left in the first half.

The Brahmas added to their lead when Rodriguez hit another 3-pointer with twenty seconds left in the first half to give Pierce a 41-35 half-time lead.

The Brahmas came out of the half flat and out of sync.

The Tigers started to press and the Brahmas failed to make a shot from the field for the first 6:16 of the second half. Yano hit some free throws that kept Pierce in the lead until forward Emmilee Ringelberg finished a lay-up after a steal and assist by Coulson.

“We came out slow, but we just kept on pushing the ball up the court,” said Rodriguez. “Condition is the key. We are in good condition now.”

Pierce forced key turnovers and played solid defense in the last ten minutes of the game to seal the victory.

“We played well on defense, rebounding and made our free throws,” said Yano.

Yano finished the game with 29 points and had a total of 68 points in the three-game tournament.

“I played ok,” said Yano. “I’m trying to stay in the team setting and we are starting to jell as a team.”

“I was really happy with the way she played in the last three games,” said Couch, about Yano’s performance in the tournament.

Rodriguez hit a seven-foot jumper and a 3-pointer in the last two minutes of the game to give Pierce the 71-60 victory over the Riverside Tigers.

Rodriguez finished the game with 15 points including four 3-pointers and five assists.

“She stepped up and had a good game for us and a good tournament,” said Couch.

The Brahmas have won 12 of their first 15 games with 16 games remaining in the season and appear to be in good shape according to Couch.

“We are where we should be right now,” he said.

Rodriguez feels the team has improved since the start of the season. “We have grown so much as a team since the summer,” said Rodriguez.

Coulson thinks the tournament was an overall success for the team.

“We could have done better. We started slow but finished strong. We have good team work,” he said

Pasadena City College won the Rose City Classic Tournament by defeating Foothill in the final game.

Brahmas have the next five games on the road with the first tonight at seven at Los Angeles City College.

The next home game for the Brahmas will be on Jan. 6, 2007 against Ventura College.

Nicolette Rivera (21) resorts to screaming in an attempt to distract Kim Rodriguez (23) from her shot. Rodriguez had 15 pints this game. ()

Kim Rondriguez (23) leads a fast break for an easy lay-up in Pierce’s 71-60 win over Riverside City College. ()

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