Women’s basketball becomes SCC Champions

Rick Gomez

With only three returning players and a rough start this season, the Cerritos College women’s basketball team was able to cap off its regular season as SCC Champions with 20 victories.

The 20 wins mark the second consecutive year the Falcons win 20 games or more in a season.

“I didn’t expect this season going so well,” Vannesa Faagata said. “We didn’t look like this at the beginning of the season.”

Another player had a different view.

“You can see the talent we had, you just had to wait for it to come out and it finally did,” forward Rachel Butler said.

Cerritos will enter the regional playoffs as the No. 16 seed, despite finishing first in the South Division of the SCC and completed its season having won eight of their last nine games.

The Falcons (20-12, 7-1) will host No. 17 seed Santa Barbara City (22-12) in the first round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

If Cerritos wins, the Falcons will go on to face top-seeded and defending state champion Mt. SAC on Saturday in the second round of the regional playoffs.

In their last meeting, the Falcons were defeated by the Vaqueros, 72-58, back in early December.

The core of freshmen from Cerritos matured through the season after having a sub-par performance at the start of the season.

Guard Maleta Daughtery showed the way for the freshmen group this season as she led in scoring with an average of 14.1 points a game.

Forward Vanessa Faagata also made a strong impact coming off the bench averaging nine points and six rebounds a game.

The Falcons closed out their season with a victory over ECC Compton Center, 63-39, last Wednesday.

Forward Mercedes Taylor led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds and their defense held the Tartars to only 16 points in the second half.

Daughtery also contributed with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Although the score does not prove it, the game was close in the beginning due to questionable officiating.

“In the playoffs, the refs don’t call everything, so in a way they helped us get ready for the playoffs,” Butler said.