At halftime, the Pirates' women's basketball team escaped the heat of Raider Pavilion by stepping outside into a gentle rain that was falling in Moorpark. Inside, the rain was anything but gentle as Ventura use the influence of 11 3-pointers to rein in the Raiders 71-44 and claim a share of their 27th straight Western State Conference title, a "27-Peat". Kyleesha Green led the way with 20 points, including a career-high six triples as VC defeated their cross-county rivals for the 59th straight time since 1991.
Katie Campbell flirted with a triple double, posting 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while Sienna Brown totaled 12 points with nine boards. Rhiana Dougan chipped in 10 points and Davina Del Castillo pulled down a game-high 11 caroms. With the win, the Pirates (23-5, 8-0) take a two-game lead over the Raiders with two games remaining, thus insuring at least a share of the conference title.
Both teams came out a bit tentative, exchanging turnovers on the first four possessions. The Raiders took an early 7-4 advantage with 7:03 remaining in the first quarter before the Pirates went on a 14-0 run, holding Moorpark scoreless for nearly 10 minutes of game time. A Del Castillo free throw started the streak and VC took the lead for good on Green's first 3-pointer of the day at the 6:05 mark. Ventura scored its final points of the period with 2:35 on the clock, a pair of Del Castillo free throws, and the Pirates led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Del Castillo ended a four-plus minute scoring drought for the Pirates with a lay-up two minutes into the second quarter and Ventura led 18-7. The Raiders closed to within 21-16 with 3:12 left in the half before VC closed with an 10-0 run. Green and Celeste Salazar hit back-to-back triples, and Campbell hit two charity shots and followed with a runner in the final seconds as the Pirates went to halftime ahead 31-16.
Moorpark made a run in the third quarter, closing to within 37-29 midway through the period. With 3:12 remaining, VC led 41-32 when the Pirates started to pull away with another run. Campbell made a jumper, then assisted a score by Brown on the next possession. Brown scored again, off a pass from Green, before Green hit another 3-pointer to make it 50-32. MC hit a shot before the end of the period and VC led 50-34 at the quarter break.
A minute into the final quarter, Dougan hit a 3-pointer from the right wing off a Campbell assist. Dougan then got a steal and lay-up to put VC ahead 55-34 with 8:38 remaining. Salazar, Campbell and Green gave the final blows with three makes from range to extend the lead to 29 points, 71-42, with 2:22 on the clock. The Pirates rode it out to the 71-44 victory.
Historically speaking, the Pirates have entered rarified air. The 27 straight conference championships is known to be the second-longest streak in state history. The Golden West men's water polo team earned their 28th consecutive conference title last fall and the College of the Desert men's golf team won 26 titles from 1988 to 2013.
Ventura will go for the outright championship on Wednesday Feb. 15 against Oxnard College. The Condors visit the Athletic Event Center for a 7:00 pm tipoff for the Pirates' final regular-season home game of the year. The game can also be seen live online on the VC Sports Network.