By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
CULVER CITY, Calif. — The Lady Cougars took an eight-point advantage into the final quarter of play but could not finish off West L.A., letting a late lead slip for a 53-49 loss in the team's regular season finale.
A win by Canyons (17-11, 4-2) would have forced a tie with West L.A. (21-8, 6-0) for a co-Western State Conference (WSC) championship. Instead COC will settle for second place and hope for an at-large playoff bid. The Lady Cougars and Wildcats also shared a co-conference championship at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Canyons led for much of the contest after opening up an early 20-6 first-quarter advantage. Things slowed down significantly in the second quarter as the two teams combined to score just 17 points (nine for COC) to make it a 28-15 halftime lead for the Lady Cougars.
But COC was never able to match that first-half intensity and was eventually outscored 23-11 in a decisive fourth quarter. West L.A. sophomore guard Audrina Villela buoyed the Wildcat effort with a stat line that included 32 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and four steals.
COC freshman Christian Patron led her team with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but no other Cougar reached double-digit point totals. Freshman McKenzie Stoehr came closest with nine points. Shauna Van Grinsven contributed five points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
As a team, Canyons shot just 28 percent from the field. West L.A. also struggled with a team field percentage of 25.9 percent, but benefitted from a mark of 23-of-30 from the foul line. By comparison, COC was 11-of-19 from the stripe.
Canyons will now wait to see if they are selected to participate in the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs. The Lady Cougars have qualified for postseason play in 22 of the previous 26 seasons under head coach Greg Herrick, winning 16 conference titles in the process.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.