Giants stay hot with big win over Merced

COS’ Kyla Wandick dribbles the ball against Merced this past Wednesday night. With a 71-50 win over Merced, the Giants improved to 5-2 in conference play to keep pace with Fresno City and Reedley in the Central Valley Conference. (Norma Foster/COS Athletics)

COS women’s basketball dominates in a 71-50 win over Merced; Giants improve to 15-8 and 5-2 in the Central Valley Conference this season

COS ATHLETICS – College of the Sequoias women’s basketball team stayed within striking distance of Central Valley Conference-leading Fresno City – and bolstered its postseason resume – with a 71-50 victory over Merced on Feb. 7 at Porter Field House.

The state No. 17-ranked Giants (15-8, 5-2) sit 2 1/2 games behind No. 6 Fresno City (20-4, 8-0) and a half game behind Reedley (15-8, 6-2) with five to play. Sequoias has won the last two CVC titles, and six of the past eight overall in championship seasons.

“We got to pretty much run the table,” Giants coach Doug White said. “It’s going to be a tough row for us to do it.”

Sequoias bounced back from consecutive CVC first-half closing losses to Fresno City (77-73 on Jan. 27) and Reedley (67-60 on Jan. 31) by jumping out to a 10-0 lead against Merced (6-17, 2-6), bolstered by 3-pointers from Anisa Torres (Caruthers High) and Lucia Ricci (Seattle, Wash.).

But the Blue Devils clawed back into the game, trailing by two points (14-12) at the end of the first and by four points (29-25) at halftime on quarter-ending 3-pointers by Mya Farr.

The Giants, however, responded with a 15-4 run to start the third quarter, surging to a commanding 15-point lead (44-29) on a basket by Maci Chavez (Kingsburg High) at the 2-minute, 10-second mark.

Merced would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

Sequoias sealed the outcome with a 20-4 fourth quarter-opening blitz that saw its lead balloon to 27 points (65-38) on a layup by Kyla Wandick (Bakersfield) with 3:33 remaining.

“They weren’t playing with any energy in the first half. I don’t know why. We practiced well this week, and then we just didn’t have energy,” White said. “I put the second group in, and they lit the fuse for us. They played with more energy and got the starting group more enthusiastic about playing. And then we just broke it apart.”

Ricci had 17 points, 13 rebounds, an assist and a steal, while Trinity Ferro added 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal to lead Sequoias.

Torres contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block for the Giants.

Darleth Felix (Tulare Union), who was starting for only the third time this season, delivered nine points, 13 rebounds and a block for Sequoias.

The Giants also received eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals from Wandick; four points, two rebounds and two assists from Chavez; four points, three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal from Geizzle Jones (Bullard-Fresno); four points and a rebound from Sarah Upshaw (Las Vegas); three points, four rebounds and four assists from Andrea Perez (Porterville); two rebounds, an assist and a steal from Teresa Sandoval (Hanford West); and three rebounds from Taylor Whitfield (Sierra Pacific-Hanford).

Sequoias entered the game ranked No. 10 in Northern California by the California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and sporting the sixth-best RPI among teams in NorCal. The Giants are seeking their 11th consecutive trip to the NorCal Regionals.

Last season, the top eight seeded teams received byes during the first round, and second-round home games during the 24-team, three-round NorCal Regionals, which advanced four teams to the state’s Elite Eight tournament.

Sequoias returns to action at 5 p.m. Feb. 10 on the road against West Hills-Lemoore (4-16, 0-8).

The Giants then play their final two regular season home games – 7 p.m. Feb. 14 against Porterville (5-17, 3-5) and 5 p.m. Feb. 17 against Taft (15-8, 3-4).

Sequoias closes CVC play with road games at Fresno City (7 p.m. Feb. 21) and Reedley (7 p.m. Feb. 23).

Start typing and press Enter to search