Philip George / Roundup
It has been said that the most dangerous team is one with nothing to lose, and while a 99-63 final score wouldn’t dictate it, last place Allan Hancock College nearly spelled danger for Pierce College last night in Santa Maria.
Fighting for their playoff lives, the Brahmas arrived at the Joe White Gym in second place, needing a victory to inch closer to the first ever postseason berth in the history of Pierce women’s basketball. The Brahmas cruised to a 49-point victory when the two teams met in January at Pierce, but the resilient Bulldogs showed that they would not back down as easily this time.
Behind Bulldog freshman Kandace Wood’s 18 first-half points, Allan Hancock maintained a tight grip on Pierce’s lead and sent a stunned Brahma team to the locker room the possessors of a mere two-point lead, 46-44.
“In the beginning, we played selfish and our defense was bad,” said sophomore center Tiara Richardson. “But in the locker room, we had a big talk and we realized that in order to win this game, we needed to play like a team.”
Richardson was a key member of that locker room chat as she offered her sound advice on how to approach the second half.
“I said let’s play like a [expletive] team,” she said.
The Brahmas heeded Richardson’s word and dominated the second half of play, posting runs of 7-0, 10-0 and 12-0, outscoring the Bulldogs by an unprecedented margin of 53-18.
Said freshman guard Tessondra Williams of her team’s newfound intensity in the second half, “We realized that these could be the last two games we have if we didn’t step it up.”
Williams led the Brahma offense with 26 points while Delia Rouse, Richardson, Bridget Jenkins and Mikala Pride joined her in double figures.
Pierce received more good news when they learned that just south of them, Santa Barbara City College defeated Moorpark College by a score of 82-56. Moorpark posed the Brahmas’ lone threat in the Western State Conference North Division standings, but needed to win the remainder of their games in order to overtake Pierce.
The Brahmas’ victory combined with Moorpark’s loss now sets up a virtual win-and-in scenario when Cuesta College visits the South Gym on Saturday’s home finale and sophomore night celebration at 7 p.m.
“We just have to come out even-tempered and levelheaded and realize what goal we’re trying to attain, and that’s to go to conference,” Richardson said. “We need to smash them.”
“I just hope our team learns from that experience and that we play harder in the first half every other game,” Jenkins added.