WBK: SBCC does unthinkable at Ventura

Solid shooting and a stout defense helped SBCC accomplish something that no other women’s basketball team has done in Ned Mircetic’s 23 years as the Ventura coach — beat the Pirates at home in a WSC North game.

Mhiah Vickers, a 5-11 freshman from Westlake High, had 25 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Vaqueros to a 70-67 upset of the No. 2 team in the state. She hit 10-of-20 from the field and converted two free throws to boost the lead to 69-65 with 19 seconds left.

Sophomore Michelle Herrera, who had 15 points and three assists, sank 4-of-6 free throws in the final 40 seconds to hold off the Pirates (19-3, 1-1). Ventura couldn’t convert a 3-point try in the final seconds. Herrera, a former Santa Ynez High standout, played the final 19 minutes with four fouls.

The Vaqueros (14-7, 2-0) snapped the Pirates 13-game win streak that started on Dec. 1.

Ventura also had its 66-game WSC North streak snapped, dating back to a 73-65 loss at SBCC on Jan. 27, 2007. The Pirates are now 121-1 in conference home games under Mircetic. Ventura is 195-3 in its last 198 WSC games with all three losses coming to Santa Barbara under the direction of coach Sandrine Krul.

“This is a huge win for our program,” said Krul. “You have no idea how good it feels to beat Ventura at their place. I’m so happy and ecstatic. Our players will remember this for a lifetime.”

Taylor DeSilva added nine points and six boards for the Vaqueros while Sara Crane had eight points, four assists and four steals before fouling out with 21.6 seconds left. Sharar Ali-Clarke had seven rebounds and six assists.

SBCC hit 38 percent from the field and nearly 50 percent from the 3-point line (4-9) with Herrera going a perfect 3-3. Ventura shot 41 percent but was just 2-12 from long range and barely made half of its free throws (19-37).

The Vaqueros led by nine points in the first half (29-20) after Courtney Houston drained a 12-foot jumper with just over three minutes to play. SBCC was whistled for 20 first-half fouls, leading to 23 attempts for the Pirates. Santa Barbara only got to the line six times in the first half, which ended with the Vaqueros on top 37-34.

The lead grew to 11 (50-39) on a three-point play by DeSilva before the Pirates rallied to tie it at 56. Herrera responded with a triple from the right corner at the 4:40 mark and the Vaqueros held a slim lead the rest of the way. Ventura got within two on three occasions in the last 30 seconds.

Keia Nobles made the first of two free throws to put SBCC ahead 70-67 with 12 seconds to go.

“Our defense made the difference,” Krul concluded. “They had a hard time running their pick and roll. We made it tough for them to get the ball to their shooters.

“We had a few tough losses (right before conference) and all our players made the decision to come together and play hard. This win is all about the passion of this team.”

SBCC hosts Cuesta on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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