Moorpark College women’s basketball wins the Western State Conference North for the first time in 28 years

Freshman+Breanna+Calhoun+leads+the+rest+of+her+team+off+the+court+after+winning+their+regular+season+final+against+Ventura+College+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+22%2C+at+Ventura+College.+This+is+Moorpark+College%27s+first+conference+championship+win+since+1990.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt
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Moorpark College women’s basketball wins the Western State Conference North for the first time in 28 years

Freshman Breanna Calhoun leads the rest of her team off the court after winning their regular season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, at Ventura College. This is Moorpark College's first conference championship win since 1990. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman Breanna Calhoun leads the rest of her team off the court after winning their regular season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, at Ventura College. This is Moorpark College's first conference championship win since 1990. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman Breanna Calhoun leads the rest of her team off the court after winning their regular season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, at Ventura College. This is Moorpark College's first conference championship win since 1990. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman Breanna Calhoun leads the rest of her team off the court after winning their regular season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, at Ventura College. This is Moorpark College's first conference championship win since 1990. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Robert Gonzales

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The Moorpark College women’s basketball team has accomplished something that hasn’t been achieved in almost three decades, becoming the Western State Conference North champions.

Moorpark College defeated Ventura College 72-39 to win the conference championship outright. It was Ventura’s largest conference loss this season.

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The Moorpark College women's basketball team poses for a photo after winning their regular season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Moorpark claimed the title of conference champions for the first time in 28 years, after defeating Ventura with a final score of 72-39. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“We never sought out to be league champs,” third-year head coach Kenny Plummer said. “We just sought out to be better than last year and keep taking a step in the right direction.”

With one foot in front of the other, the Raiders did exactly that. They improved their 22-7 overall record from last year to an almost flawless 28-1 record this season.

Their conference standing improved from second place with an 8-2 record in the conference to first place with a perfect 10-0 record.

Beating cross-county rival Ventura College for the conference title was just the cherry on top of this dominant run.

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Freshman Breanna Calhoun passes the ball to a teammate during Moorpark's season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun lead the team in scoring with 23 points. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“We came here with the intention to obviously go as far as we can,” freshman guard Breanna Calhoun said. “To do that for our school that we’re representing means a lot, and the fact that we’re going to be able to always have our legacy in that gym, it means even more.”

For some, the victory was a reminder of past achievements and how it felt to win.

“For us to win the championship for the first time since 1990, it feels good because I did it as a player, and now as a coach,” Plummer said. “It’s just a great feeling.”

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Head Coach Kenny Plummer eyes the scoreboard during Moorpark College's basketball game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Plummer has guided the women's basketball team down a championship path, becoming the best in their conference. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

For others, it was a test of triumph, of overcoming pre-game angst in front of loved ones.

“I was a little bit nervous, definitely not going to lie,” freshman guard Jazmin Carrasco said. “I knew a lot of my family and friends were going to come, but after tip-off and after maybe the first couple of minutes I was like ‘alright, alright, [just] another game.’”

Carrasco did more than just calm her nerves as she sparked the start of a 15-0 run by hitting a corner three. Poor defensive rotation left the 3-point shooter alone on the floor, where she drained the open shot.

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Jazzy Carrasco rushes towards the basket during Moorpark College's conference championship against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, at Ventura College. Carrasco ended the night with 16 points, assisting her team in the championship win. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The next play, Calhoun hit a three in the same spot and immediately hustled back on defense. She took the ball away from Ventura, stealing away their chance at a title with it.

The Moorpark offense became deadly quick. Calhoun was responsible for seven points in 75 seconds. She began to take over the game.

“We’ve already been having a winning and hunting mentality like we always just want to win,” Carrasco said.

Barbara Rangel, a sophomore center and last year’s WSC North Player of the Year, elevated the efforts of her teammates. Her 21 points and 16 rebounds resulted in her 27th double-double of the season.

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Sophomore Barbara Rangel looks for an open teammate during the conference championship game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Rangel ended the game with 21 points on the board. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The team’s defensive effort stunned Ventura. By halftime, the Raiders had a commanding lead of 34-18. Ventura remained stalled at 18 points for seven and a half minutes before breaking through that barrier. They struggled to resurrect their offense the rest of the night.

They shot under 28 percent on field goals, under 20 percent from the 3-point line, and 50 percent from the free-throw line. Their usual top-two scorers who average 15 points each ended the game with a combined 13 points total.

“We really wanted to win this game, play our best basketball and solidify the No. 1 seed in the playoffs,” Plummer said. “We said, ‘today let’s give a playoff mentality game effort’ and as you can see by the score, we really, really put up [a] playoff game plan together.”

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Head Coach Kenny Plummer leads the celebration of the Moorpark College women's basketball team after winning their regular season final against Ventura College, on Friday, Feb. 22 at Ventura College. This would be Moorpark's first conference championship win since 1990. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

When the Raiders reached a 30-point lead, “We are” (clap clap) “MC” (clap clap) chants began to erupt in the arena. The spirit of the Ventura home crowd was deflating. Audience members began to walk out as their hopes of mounting a comeback dwindled.

Last year, Moorpark sat 18th in the California Community College Sports Information Association state poll. This year, they have entered the playoffs on top of the community college sports landscape, looking down from their perch as the unanimous No.1 community college women’s basketball team.

The Moorpark Raiders won their first playoff game in the Southern California regionals last year under Coach Plummer. Each year they have gone further than their previous year. For his third season, Plummer hopes to take another step forward.

SoCal regional playoffs begin Feb. 27. Winner of No. 16 seed Cerritos and No. 17 seed Citrus will move on to play No. 1 seed Moorpark at Moorpark College on Saturday, Mar. 2 at 7 p.m.

If Moorpark continues on, their next playoff game will be Saturday, Mar. 9. The winner of that game advances past SoCal regionals to the state finals at Ventura College, where the women’s basketball state champion will be crowned.

Outstanding Statistics:

Ventura:

03 CeCe Quintino: 11 points

12 Madison Cvijanovich: 7 rebounds

14 Victoria Maciel: 14 points

Moorpark:

10 Emily Herring: 8 rebounds

21 Jazmin Carrasco: 16 points

22 Breanna Calhoun: 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 23 points

33 Kristen Sullivan: 12 points on 4-8 3PA

42 Barbara Rangel: 16 rebounds, 21 points on 10-19 FGA

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