Women's Basketball

Women's basketball team opens up state tourney Thursday

Women's basketball team opens up state tourney Thursday

Irvine Valley's women's basketball team is back in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship.

The eight-team tournament is being played Thursday through Sunday at Ventura College.

This is the second time that IVC has been at state. Its previous appearance was in coach Julie Hanks' first season with the Lasers during the 1998-99 season.

Irvine Valley opens up in the quarterfinals on Thursday against the top team from Northern California, Sierra College, at 5 p.m.

Sierra has a record of 29-1 overall and won its Big 8 Conference with a mark of 15-1. Sierra is riding a six-game win streak into the state tournament.

Irvine Valley is 26-4 overall and went 13-1 in the Orange Empire Conference to share the title with Cypress.

The Lasers have won four straight games.

IVC reached the state tournament after upsetting two-time defending state champion and No. 2 seed in the So. Cal. Regional, Mt. San Antonio, 76-71, last Saturday at Mt. SAC.

IVC out-scored the Mounties, 33-23, in the fourth quarter to win.

Irvine Valley sophomore forward Kasey Smit, who was the OEC most valuable player this year, finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Freshman guard Lexi Vail added 15 points and four rebounds, sophomore guard Elizabeth Garcia had 14 points and six rebounds and freshman guard Cydnie Danan, who made a go-ahead, three-pointer late, and sophomore forward Kiara Warren each contributed eight points.

On the season, Smit is averaging 19.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. She has 21 double-doubles on the year and is also shooting 47.8 percent from the floor.

Smit was also named the CCCSIA female athlete of the month for January after finishing the month averaging 24.1 points, 14.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.9 blocks a game

Garcia, who was named first team all-conference, is averaging 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals.

Vail, a second-team all-conference performer, averages 10.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists and Warren, another second-team all-conference player, averages 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.

Sierra's only loss this season came to Diablo Valley, 81-71, on Jan. 30 in a conference game on the road.

Sierra moved into the state tournament with an easy 99-64 victory last Saturday at home.

Bri Moore led the way with 30 points, eight rebounds, five assists, 12 steals and three blocks.

Shanel Jamison came off the bench with 27 points and seven rebounds. She went 17 of 19 from the free throw line. Taylor Avila added 13 points and Aycee Willis had 11 points and seven rebounds.

Moore ranks second in the state in scoring at 24.4 points per game and first in steals at 6.7 per game. She has scored in double figures in every game for Sierra this year, including seven games with at least 30 points and two games with 40 points or more. She had a season-high 46 points in Sierra's 102-61 win at Modesto on Jan. 6.

The winner of Thursday's game will move on to the semifinals on Saturday and play the winner of Mt. San Jacinto and College of the Sequoias.


State Championship Schedule (Ventura)


Thur., Mar. 8

1 p.m. - (4N) Merced (26-5) vs. (1S) Palomar (29-1)

3 p.m. - (3S) L.A. Trade-Tech (24-6) vs. (2N) Fresno City (26-5)

5 p.m. - (4S) Irvine Valley (26-4) vs. (1N) Sierra (29-1)

7 p.m. - (3N) College of the Sequoias (28-3) vs. (2S) Mt. San Jacinto (29-2)

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