The Pirates' women's basketball team had a difficult time finding the bottom of the net Saturday, falling at Moorpark 69-54. VC shot just 34 percent in the game (21-62) and connected on 21 percent of their 3-point attempts (4-21) in the setback. Cece Quintino led Ventura (18-7, 4-3) with 14 points and six rebounds while Madison Kast netted 10 points. Talia Taufaasau had nine points and five assists for the Pirates.
Ventura held an early advantage when LaDaesha Merriweather grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Quintino for a lay-up on the Pirates' opening possession. Yasmine Ahllamara made a 3-pointer a minute later and the game was tied at 5-5. VC missed their next four shots, and also had two turnovers in the span as the raiders scored seven straight points to take control of the game. Victoria Maciel scored a lay-up to break the skid, but the momentum had shifted firmly in Moorpark's favor. Quintino made a three from the left side with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 18-6, and Merriweather scored inside in the final minute of the period, but VC trailed at the quarter break 21-14.
The Pirates missed their first nine shot attempts in the second quarter, and had five turnovers as MC went to an 18-2 run. Only two free throws by Kast broke the drought that lasted seven minutes. Ventura was down 42-18 when Alyssandra Lacanilao hit a runner with 1:38 on the clock, and an inside score by Kast and a 3-point play by Taufaasau closed the halftime gap to 44-25.
The teams traded scores early in the third quarter with Quintino, Kast and Taufaasau all scoring early. Emma Larson made a free throw with 4:50 on the clock to keep the margin at 21, 53-32, before the Raiders scored five straight. Quintino made a jumper and Maciel sank a pair of charity tosses before the end of the quarter and VC trailed 60-56 entering the final period.
Moorpark scored a three to begin the fourth quarter, but there was no quit in the Pirates. Taufaasau drove for two then assisted a bucket by Kast. Maciel nailed a triple from the left corner with help from Ahllamara and the deficit was cut back to 20, 64-44. a free throw by Kimora Pooler and a three by Quintino cut the margin to 66-48 with 5:35 remaining, and Pooler and Taufaasau each scored inside for a 15-point margin. That was as close as VC could get in the end, however, as they fell to defeat 69-54.
Merriweather ended the day with a game-high nine rebounds and Pooler had eight boards with five points.
Ventura returns home for their regular season finale on Wednesday Feb. 19. The Pirates host Allan Hancock College for a 6:00 pm tip-off on Sophomore Night at the Athletic Event Center.