For three quarters Wednesday night the unthinkable was happening. Fresh off of clinching a share of the program's 27th straight Western State Conference title, the VC women's basketball team trailed visiting Oxnard, a team they had defeated by 35 points three weeks earlier, and looked bad in doing it. But a strong fourth quarter effort, led by 10 points and three 3-pointers from Rhiana Dougan, helped the Pirates (24-5, 9-0) outlast the upset-minded Condors 56-50.
It was evident early on that the Pirates were in no mood to put up a fight against the visiting Condors. OC scored five points in the first minute of the game, and VC was listless on offense as well, prompting the starting line-up's trip to the bench for the final eight minutes of the first quarter. Oxnard hit another 3-pointer to go ahead 8-0 before Avery Brunk got the Pirates on the board over four minutes into the game. The Condors continued to maintain their lead, expanding it to 18-7 at the end of the quarter.
The Pirate starters came back in the second quarter, and they did not fare much better, as Oxnard outscored VC 9-8 in the period. Ventura made two of 13 field goal attempts over the 10 minutes, and just three of six free throws. The Pirates trailed 27-15 at halftime.
Offense was scarce for both teams in the third quarter with VC going on a 6-2 run over the first six minutes of the period to close to within 28-21. Ventura still trailed 33-23 with 1:51 remaining in the quarter before Ventura scored eight points to close the period. Davina Del Castillo hit a free throw before Brunk and Campbell hit back-to-back threes. Campbell hit a charity toss to close the quarter and VC trailed 33-31 at the quarter break.
The Ventura offense finally got untracked in the final stanza, but Oxnard did their best to keep pace. Four times the Pirates pulled to within one point, only to have the Condors answer with a score. VC finally took a 43-42 lead on two free throws from Campbell with 5:03 remaining in the game, and Oxnard promptly answered once again, retaking the lead.
On the next possession, Dougan hit from downtown to make it 46-44 for VC, and OC came back to tie the game again at 46. Finally, Dougan hit a free shot at the 3:36 mark, and nailed another triple on the next possession to put Ventura ahead 50-46, and the game was in hand. Oxnard scored on the next possession to close to within two before Dougan hit her third shot from range in the period to stretch the lead to five, 53-48. Ventura went on to post the 56-50 victory.
Campbell led all scorers with 18 points, 15 in the second half, and six rebounds. Dougan finished with 14. Brunk and Melissa Ohmie both had solid games off the bench with eight and seven points, respectively, to go along with four and five rebounds. Sienna Brown pulled down a game-high 13 boards with three blocked shots.
Ventura will close the regular season on Saturday Feb. 18 at Santa Barbara. Tip off against the Vaqueros is slated for 7:00 pm following the VC men's game at 5:00 pm.