Mackenzie Boyd added seven points for Villanova against Pacifica.(Ojai Valley News photo by Ted Cotti)
Ted Cotti, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Ranked seventh in the CIF-SS Division 5A for most of 2015, Villanova’s girls’ basketball team made a quick exit from the playoffs last Saturday, dropping a second-round home game to Pacifica from Santa Monica, 38-28.
Led by senior point guard Dee Preston (10 points, eight steals, and five assists), the Seawolves (8-10) jumped out to a 12-0 lead. “We wanted to use our press to speed them up and get them out of what they do,” said Pacifica head coach Amani Danish. “We got them to turn it over a little, and that helped us run and get some easy ones, too.”
Villanova committed 16 first-half turnovers and made only two of its first 30 shots. The Lady Wildcats were scoreless through the first 11 minutes of the game before Athena Giron made a lay-up off a bounce pass from Kathleen Cotti.
Still, thanks to a three by Mackenzie Boyd, who finished with seven points, the Wildcats were down only 13 at half, 19-6.
Senior guard Elissa Root, Villanova’s leading scorer on the season, made her first points of the game two minutes into the third quarter and followed that with another 14 before it was all over to lead all scorers. Her two free throws and a Boyd trey out of a time out cut the lead to five with 4:10 to play, but Root’s next shot, a runner in the lane, spun in-and-out.
Cotti fouled trying to stop the ensuing break, after which Preston proceeded to drive through the entire Villanova defense for two layups and a kick-out trey on three of the next four Seawolves’ possessions to stretch that lead back to 11.
“Villanova is a tough team, and I got to hand it to them because they kept fighting,” said Danish. “We got a little tense there when (Root’s layup that would have cut the lead to three) almost went down, but I just got my girls to understand that they had made their run, and now we were going to make one.”
“We can’t play at 180 miles per hour,” said Villanova head coach Harry Carbonati, who led VPS to its first playoff appearance since their epic march to the CIF finals three years ago in his first year at the helm. “Once we understood that and settled down, we had good defense, and did a great job on the boards, but there isn’t much more you can do to come back when you just aren’t making shots.”
Led by 16 rebounds by Boyd and 11 by Faith Cottam, Villanova finished the game with a 50-20 rebounding edge. They also finished the night having made only 16 percent of its field goals and only six of 16 free throws.
The Wildcats, second in the Frontier League to Carpinteria this year, finish the 2014-15 campaign at 15-10.
© Ojai Valley News, 2015