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Slow start proves costly in 69-58 loss to No. 15 Ventura

Aaliyah Pauling had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. She's fourth in WSC North scoring (18.5) and sixth in assists (3.3). (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Aaliyah Pauling had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. She's fourth in WSC North scoring (18.5) and sixth in assists (3.3). (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

Ventura jumped out to a 20-6 first-quarter lead on Saturday night and went on to defeat SBCC 69-58 in a women's basketball game at the Sports Pavilion.

The 15th-ranked Pirates (20-8, 5-1 WSC North) made 9-19 field goals in the first 10 minutes and the Vaqueros (14-9, 2-4) were just 1-13.

The lead grew to 16 points at 27-11 before Maaria Jaakkola started to get hot, nailing two 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that pulled the Vaqueros within six at 27-21.

Ventura led 34-23 at intermission.

The Pirates won the shooting battle, 42.6 to 30.0%, and outrebounded the Vaqueros 42-24.

Sophomore point guard Aaliyah Pauling led SBCC with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Jaakkola added nine points on 3-4 long-range shooting. Meagan Moore and Sierra Cavaletto had seven apiece on a night that all 11 Vaqueros scored.

"We lost the game in the first quarter," said Vaquero coach Sandrine Krul, whose team won the last three quarters 52-49. "Players have to be ready to play in big games. If we keep it within five in the first quarter, it's a different game.

"This game was all about effort. I decided to go with the players who were playing hard and they helped us cut an 18-point deficit down to five."

Talia Taufaasau paced the Pirates with 24 points and seven assists. Cece Quintino added 16 points and LaDaesha Merriweather collected 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Ventura expanded the lead to 18 points in the third quarter, then the Vaqueros ended the period on a 9-2 run capped by back-to-back 3's by Michaela Berber and Jaakkola. They trailed 53-42 after three quarters.

The Vaqueros shaved the deficit to five points on two occasions (53-48 and 60-55) thanks to a couple of triples by Pauling and a 16-foot jumper and two free throws by Cavaletto. Pauling drained a 17-foot jumper out top to cut the lead to six (64-58) with 42 seconds left but the Pirates hit 5-of-6 free throws to secure their 10th win in 12 games.

SBCC will travel to No. 1 Moorpark (24-1, 6-0) on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game.