(Walnut, CA) It will be an all South Coast Conference final in the Linda G. Smith Mt. SAC Memorial Tip-Off Tournament, as the Mounties defeated Saddleback College, 74-57 on Saturday, November 3 in a semifinal game.
Rio Hondo, a 60-53 winner over Citrus College in the other semi, will face the Mounties for the first time in the title game of the 23-year history of the tournament.
"Our girls are learning to be Mounties," Mt. SAC Women's coach Brian Crichlow said. "It's a good thing, it's a good thing."
"A lot of alumni come out and support them on a daily basis and there's a lot of pride and tradition here."
One former player, Tay Hester, is new to the staff this year for Crichlow. Hester was a member of the near-perfect 37-1 2008 CCCAA State Championship team.
"It's always good to have somebody to teach them how to be that Mt. SAC player," Crichlow said. "…to tell them how to go deep in the playoffs and win a championship."
The win was a complete effort as 11 players got into the scoring column, with sophomore forward Jade Hughes leading the way with a game-high 22 points. Hughes also led the team with 10 rebounds (9-13 FGM, 4-6 FTM, 6 Off., 4 Def.).
"Coming from a state championship team (2016), I know what it takes and I just want to lead by example," Hughes said. "I'm focused for March and just want to be focus on that ring."
Hughes was a member of the 2016 team that won the title after trailing by 19 points to East L.A. in the second half. "I see a lot of potential and what we could do and I know we can be that Mt. SAC team."
"She (Hughes) wants to be better and be the player who we believe has the potential to be great," Crichlow said. "With Jade, it's her experience. She played on the (2016) championship team two years ago and she understands how we want to get things done and how to win basketball games."
"She did an excellent job (Saturday) of just being a leader of wanting and commanding the ball."
Freshman Mya Victor (4-7 FGM, 5 RB, Stl.) added nine points and three players - guard Aujanae Mayes (8 RB, Blk., 3 Stl.), forward Tianna Burrell (4-8 FGM, 6 RB) and guard Natalia Shpegel (2-4 FGM, 4-4 FTM) – scored eight points each.
After leading 25-19 in the first quarter of the Saddleback game, the Mounties extended the lead by halftime by outscoring the Gauchos, 12-6 for a 37-25 lead.
They also outscored Saddleback in the second half, 37-32 for the 17-point victory.
Other scores from day two: West L.A. defeated San Bernardino Valley College, 76-65 and College of the Canyons beat Long Beach CC, 67-50. West L.A. will play Canyons for fifth-place on Sunday, while Citrus and Saddleback will play for third place.
Mt. SAC will take a short break and play in the second of four pre-season tournaments, beginning November 23 at the Ventura Tournament.
Follow Mt. SAC Women's Basketball on twitter @MtSAC_WBKB
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.