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Strong defense shuts down Eagles

Quick, energized team stops Laney College

By Lorenzo Morotti, associate editor
On February 14, 2014

  • Eagles’ guard Brianna Howard (12) attempts to chase down Comet guard Jewel Rogers from behind during the Comets’ 92-62 victory over Laney College in the Gymnasium on Friday. The Comets remain in second place after the win. Qing Huang / The Advocate

Laney College women's basketball team struggled to penetrate a solid one-on-one defense or contain the Comets' blistering full-court offensive breaks, resulting in a 92-62 win for Contra Costa College in the Gymnasium Friday.
CCC (16-6 overall, 8-2 in the Bay Valley Conference) still rests beneath first place Solano Community College (20-4 all, 11-0 BVC). 
The Falcons also beat Laney (8-13 all, 5-6 BVC) nestled in sixth and, more recently, fifth place Napa Valley College (10-11 all, 5-6 BVC).
"We are now two games ahead of the third place team. This win acts as a buffer for us," women's basketball coach Paul DeBolt said post-game. "Now if we win our next couple of games, we can finish second and make the post-season."
The Comets last confrontation against Solano ended 86-62, the team's only conference defeat at home this season.
"Solano has got to lose," DeBolt said. "We have to beat them the next time we play."
The Eagles coach Ron Williams also felt the wrath of the Falcons' quick offense in a 98-62 away loss.
"That's what Solano does, and they've been doing it to every team in this conference," Williams said as his team practiced shooting drills minutes before facing off against CCC.
It has been a turbulent season for the Laney team. It has gone 3-3 in its last six matches, seeing alternating results each time.
"With nine freshman and two sophomores on a team, you're going to have inconsistencies in their play," Williams said. "But this is a team that is more than capable of playing well. We have to transition buckets quickly, not by just jogging."
He said that the Comets are capable of the same level of play as Solano.
"We have to make sure to keep them behind us," he said.
During the opening two minutes of play, neither team was able to score. The Eagles won the tip off, but possession alternated quickly when full-court breaks turned into defensive rebounds underneath the net or put the ball out of bounds.
Comet guard Raven Caldwell opened up the scoreboard when she drove into the key to dribble the ball past two Eagle players, sinking the layup.
Eagle guard Charmayne Moore responded with a jump shot from behind the center of the 3-point line. It was the first of her six completed 3-pointers by the end of the match, the most out of both teams. Caldwell would finish just one shy of Moore.
Jewel Rogers answered Moore when she intercepted a bad pass forced by the Comet defense that shut down passing options for Laney with its coverage.
Rogers only scored two points in the first half. A minute after scoring a layup on the turnover, she was subbed out by DeBolt because she had already accumulated two personal fouls.
The tempo of the first half was controlled by the defense. CCC's one-on-one coverage left almost no room in the key for an Eagle drive. Good spacing and defensive foresight by Comet guards Caldwell, Joie Wyatt and Ahjahna Coleman propelled CCC to have 53 rebounds, 16 steals and 13 turnovers at the final buzzer.
"This was one of our best defensive efforts of the season," DeBolt said.
CCC guard Tynisha Adams scored four field goals on full court breaks when the defense forced a turnover. This counter-attack style of play kept CCC in the lead. The Eagles collected 12 team fouls during the half trying to defend against a relentless Comet attack.
When a team accumulates more than 10 fouls during a half, a double-bonus free throw phase is initiated. Any foul committed against the Comets would mean two shots. The team sunk 55.3 percent of its shots at the free-throw line.
The Comets' defensive full-court pressure often held Laney players at midcourt during breaks. This tactic forced the Eagle players to go for the 3-point attempt or drive the ball into the key, where space was at a premium.
Offensive efforts on the part of Eagle guards Moore and L. Delos Reyes kept the point margin at halftime to only nine points. CCC led 34-25.
The second half was a more offensive one for both teams. DeBolt put Rogers back in and she made her presence known by rebounding 13 times, scoring half of her 10 field goal attempts ending the game with 13 points.
Caldwell totaled 21 points at the end of the half with seven field goals and five 3-pointers. Adams led both teams in points scored with 22, eight inside the 3-point line and two from a distance.
Comet assistant coach Chanel Antonio said pre-game that, in order to win, they have to be able to play together and sink shots when they can.
"When we are in our offensive flow, no one can stop us," Antonio said.
The full-court breaks were faster and produced more points for both teams late in the game. CCC's defense kept the Eagles from scoring under the net consistently, allowing the offense to have more chances to score and extend the point difference.
Five different Comet players exceeded 10 points by the final buzzer. CCC scored 58 points while Laney had 37 points during the second half.
"A good defense usually turns into a good offense," Adams said. "We play as a team, we win as a team." 

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