LEMOORE - Sophomore Meghan McIntyre scored a game-high 21 points and had 12 rebounds to lead five Orange Coast College players in double figures, including Ashlee Dorantes who scored a season-high 13 points off the bench, as top South seed Orange Coast College rode past defending champion Sierra College, 73-56, and into its first CCCAA Women's Basketball Championship semifinal since 2006.
The Pirates, who improved to 30-1, will face Santa Rosa Junior College (29-2) on Saturday at either 5 or 7 p.m. The game time will be announced later Friday. Sierra, which began the postseason as the North's 13th seed before making a run to the final eight, finished its season with a 20-12 record. The Wolverines were led by Julianne Cotterill who played all but two minutes and finished with 19 points. Christiane Carlisle added 12 points while Sarah Reuter had 13 rebounds and Alyssa Premo added 12 to complement her 11 points..
Sierra jumped out to an 8-3 lead over inside the first four minutes but Annie Trinh canned back-to-back three-pointers to give Orange Coast a 9-8 lead. The teams traded leads until a 6-0 run by Orange Coast the rest of the quarter put Orange Coast in the lead for good, 17-12. Dorantes keyed a strong second quarter for the Pirates, converting a trio of layups including a pair over a 30-second span that put Orange Coast on top, 29-14, with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left in the half.
Dorantes, who made 6 of 9 shots in her 18 minutes of action, had seven points in the second frame as the Pirates took a 34-22 into intermission.
The third quarter belonged to McIntyre, who tallied nine points, highlighted by a three-point play midway through the quarter. Orange Coast scored 24 points in the period, getting a pair of three-pointers from Gabby Samiy who made three overall. The Pirates led 58-37 going into the final quarter before coming out with the 17-point win. Their biggest lead was 24 points, coming in the third quarter.
"It's so exciting and special to get this far," said Orange Coast head coach Sammy Doucette. "This group is just so locked in and works so hard. I couldn't ask for anything else. Meghan is 'one of one'. She finds a way. And if she can't find a way, she will find a way to find a way."
Trinh, who hit two treys, finished with 13 points while Karina Cabrera had a trio of three-pointers and also posted 13 points. Samiy rounded out the balanced scoring attack for the Pirates' starting five with her 11-point effort. McIntyre, who was 9 of 16 from the floor, added six assists and a pair of steals to her double-double effort. Orange Coast turned 16 Sierra turnovers into 18 points.
Cotterill added nine rebounds to her 19 points.
(by Robert Schmidt)