A slow start to the second half cost the Pirates' women's basketball team in their 71-62 loss to Moorpark Wednesday at the Athletic Event Center. VC (16-5, 2-1) played the Raiders close to even for three quarters, but were outscored 20-13 right after halftime. Madison Kast had another solid outing offensively with 13 points and Cece Quintino netted 12. Kimora Pooler pulled in 12 rebounds.
The teams traded buckets in the first minute, both off of offensive rebounds, then the Raiders scored the next seven for a 9-2 lead with 5:33 left in the first quarter. Kast scored inside off a Quintino assist to break the Pirate skid, followed by a bucket by Quintino. After a Moorpark score, Kast hit a three and Alaina Garcia also hit from range. Victoria Maciel was fouled while shooting from behind the arc with 1:29 on the clock, calmly making all three charity shots to make VC's deficit 17-16 at the end of the period.
Alyssandra Lacanilao nailed a triple at the 7:23 mark of the second stanza to give the Pirates a 21-20 advantage, but the defense then gave up a pair of free throws and a 3-point play in the next minute, giving the advantage back to Moorpark. Kast found the bottom of the next two times midway through the period, and Yasmine Ahllamara's three in the closing seconds brought the Pirates back to within 31-28 at halftime.
The Pirates could not make their momentum last through intermission, as they were outscored 10-2 in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Lacanilao hit a runner to get VC untracked, but the damage had been done. Ventura kept up the fight, however, and two buckets by LaDaesha Merriweather, the second one part of an old-fashioned 3-point play, closed the gap to seven points 46-39, with 1:43 on the clock. Ventura trailed 51-41 at the quarter break.
In the final period, VC continued to play catch-up. Quintino found her shooting touch with eight points in the period, and her bucket with 4:43 left in the game brought the deficit back down to seven, 61-54. The Pirates advanced no closer, however, and ultimately fell by the final 71-62 margin.
Merriweather ended the night with nine points and seven rebounds and Talia Taufaasau scored eight.
Ventura closes out the first round of Western State Conference play on Saturday Feb. 1 at Allan Hancock College. Tip-off in Santa Maria is scheduled for 3:00 pm. VC returns home on Saturday Feb. 8 for its annual Ribbons of Life Breast Cancer Game.