BC women's basketball hangs on for uneasy 58-52 win over LA Valley

·4 min read

Jan. 23—In recent weeks, first quarters have been a big problem for the Bakersfield College women's basketball team. Not so Saturday night, when the Renegades outscored LA Valley 15-8 behind strong post play from Kathleen Rodriguez.

The second quarter went by without incident, too. And while BC never trailed, things really got dicey for the Renegades in the second half. They led by as many as 15 before LA Valley went on a late run and cut the deficit to one point.

Ultimately, BC needed key steals late by Isyss Scott and Julie Hernandez to thwart an ambitious comeback from the Lady Monarchs and win 58-52 — a fitting end to a game with 47 combined turnovers.

"They didn't smile until there was about 15 seconds left in the ball game," BC coach Paula Dahl said. "It was an interesting game, but we came up with a way."

The Renegades (15-2, 4-0) got their only points in the first seven and a half minutes of the fourth quarter on three 3-pointers, two from Elise Enriquez and one from Brianna Green, and that was just enough to keep them ahead of the Monarchs (7-8, 2-2).

"With Bri and Elise, it was massive," Dahl said. "We needed it desperately."

BC continued its well-balanced offensive attack, with Rodriguez posting another double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds, plus five steals) in just 25 minutes, Enriquez recording 16 points despite a poor shooting night and Green earning 11 off the bench. Hernandez also had eight points, 13 rebounds and four steals.

The Renegades struggled to contain LA Valley's guards, in particular Jordyn Jiron, who finished with 17 points and had a whopping seven steals on defense. Brianna Torres and forward Chellsiea Benitez were also in double figures.

The game hadn't looked nearly as competitive in the first half, when the Monarchs shot 21 percent. After BC jumped out to an early 9-4 lead, Torres split the Renegades' press for a coast-to-coast layup, but for the most part even layups were a challenge for the Monarchs early as they managed just 14 points in the first half.

BC's offense wasn't much better, going just 26 percent from the field, but in the first sign that outside shooting would be significant, Green and Enriquez hit 3-pointers to bookend the second quarter and help the Renegades go into halftime with a 10-point lead.

Rodriguez and Hernandez continued to thrive in the post after the break, and Green connected from deep again to build the lead to 15 nearly halfway through the third quarter. That was when LA Valley fought back; BC's interior defense lapsed several times, allowing for a pair of easy baskets for Juliet Jaramillo, and the Renegades couldn't hold on to the ball on offense (they finished with 27 turnovers).

Torres's drive right before the end of the quarter brought the deficit back to single digits, and Jiron hit the Monarchs' first 3-pointer to open the fourth, cutting it to 40-34, the first six-point deficit since 18-12.

BC kept it there with 3-pointers from Green and Enriquez, but that only briefly halted LA Valley's momentum.

"We had kids come up with some big plays," Dahl said, "and they came back and answered back, which we knew that they could."

Torres was fouled on a deep attempt and made three straight free throws. Jiron added two more and then her second 3-pointer to make it 49-48 with under three minutes left. Dahl had seen enough and called timeout.

"We were just kinda out of sorts," she said. "And so for me, with my timeouts, I was just trying to bring them back."

She succeeded. Rodriguez got a quick layup out of the timeout, and on the ensuing possession Scott snatched the ball away on defense and took it back down the court for a transition layup. The Monarchs got back to a three-point margin twice, and Benitez's jumper made it 55-52 with 41 seconds left.

But Rodriguez made one free throw to make it a two-possession game, and Hernandez snatched away LA Valley's next inbounds pass to seal the deal.

Still unbeaten in conference play, the Renegades will be back on the road for a makeup game at Citrus Monday.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.