Lady Cougars get 20th win
Lassen College's women's basketball team recorded its 20th win quicker than any team in the state last week. During a three-game swing in Southern California, the Lady Cougars (20-4) defeated San Diego Mesa 66-54, Southwestern 86-62 and Palomar 49-47.
Lassen extended its win streak to five games and solidified its No. 4 state ranking and No. 2 ranking in Northern California.
"It was real nice to go down there and finish off the preseason with five wins," Lassen head coach Mark Nareau said. "We played some of the best teams the last 2-1/2 months and came out with a pretty impressive record."
Last Wednesday, Lassen started the trip against top-20 ranked San Diego Mesa. The women jumped out to a 18-6 start and held on to a 36-32 lead at halftime.
The Lady Cougars pulled away in the second half to seal the victory.
Jamie Wagner led the way for Lassen with 18 points. Jasmere Kirby hit for 16 and Jasmine Borella buried five three-pointers for her 15 points. Janelle Mack added eight points.
In front of a sparse crowd in Chula Vista, Lassen found little resistance from Southwestern. The women led 42-29 at the half and rode a monster game from Mack to victory. The sophomore racked up 26 points and 15 rebounds.
The Lady Cougars escaped a defensive battle with a win against Palomar.
"We played bad, but still found a way to beat a good team. We couldn't get anything to fall," Nareau said.
It was Mack again carrying the team. With Lassen ahead 23-20 at halftime and holding a marginal lead late in the game, Mack stepped it up.
She finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, appearing ready for whatever challenge awaits her come Golden Valley Conference play. Kirby added 15 points, and Tara Davis and Wagner scored six.
"Janelle has really turned it on of late. She was the one we looked to to get this win," Nareau said.
Lassen starts its defense of the GVC crown this Saturday when it hosts Shasta College at 6 p.m. The Lady Cougars won last season's title with an undefeated record.
"Winning it this year is definitely not going to be easy. Butte is very good and Shasta and College of the Siskiyous are also tough. We really need to win our first two games at home and take a 2-0 record into the rest of the schedule.
"I think how tough the preseason was for us will really help us. We played nearly every game on the road against the state's top teams, and we came out of it without any major injuries and a sense of what we've got to do to back up our record. This team will be ready come Saturday," Nareau said.
Butte enters conference play ranked second in the state and No. 1 in the north.
After Shasta, Lassen welcomes Siskiyous on Wednesday, Jan. 23. the team's remaining home games include Feather River on Saturday, Feb. 2, College of the Redwoods on Saturday, Feb. 9, and Butte on Saturday, Feb. 16.