Coming off an excellent 12-1 season start, East L.A. College Husky women’s basketball team will face a big test by hosting their own holiday classic on December 27-29 on the Monterey Park campus.
Last weekend, guard Kristina Tatikian came off the bench to score five three-point baskets in the second half to spark the East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team to a 56-32 victory over Santa Rosa College Sunday in the championship game of the City College of San Francisco Tournament.
In winning its third tournament of the season, ELAC won its sixth consecutive game and raised its record to 12-1. The 12-1 start is the best by a Husky basketball team – men’s or women’s – in ELAC history.
The eight-team Husky Classics Tournament will tip off Saturday with Los Angeles Harbor College playing College of the Canyons at 12 p.m. Oxnard College and Los Angeles Trade College square off at 2 p.m., and San Jose Mission College takes on Saddleback College at 4 p.m. ELAC plays College of Marin in the final game of the first round at 6 p.m. All games will be played in ELAC’s men’s gym.
Before adding San Francisco’s Golden Gate Classic to their list of tournament championships, the Huskies also won the titles at San Jose Mission College and Saddleback College. They also won the consolation bracket at Cypress College.
The Huskies will attempt to win their own tournament – the East Los Angeles Huskies Classic – which tips off Saturday and runs through Monday (Dec. 27-29). The Huskies play College of Marin in a first round game at 6 p.m.
After defeating Sierra College (56-39) and San Bernardino Valley College (78-65) in the first two rounds in San Francisco, the Huskies got off to a slow start in Sunday’s championship game. They led only 26-19 at halftime, relying mostly on their suffocating defense.
In the second half, Coach Bruce Turner inserted Tatikian into the game, and the sharp-shooting sophomore guard from Pasadena High School responded with her long-range shots igniting the Husky offense.
“Kristina’s our ‘Super Sub,’ our Jamal Crawford,” Turner said, referring to the Los Angeles Clippers backup guard known for his offensive contributions off the bench. “Crawford’s a game-changer and Kristina came in today and changed the momentum of the game.”
With Tatikian drawing away defenders to the outside in the second half, point guard Olivia Ochoa drove the lane, dishing off passes and forward Jocelyne Diaz came away with key rebounds as the Huskies broke open a tight game and won going away.
“When Kristina started hitting the threes we were able to go inside and outside in the second half,” Turner said. “All facets of our offense were clicking.”
Ochoa, a sophomore from Roosevelt High School, scored 14 points, while passing off eight assists and making five steals. Ochoa’s outstanding play throughout the tournament earned her the tourney’s most-valuable-player award.
Diaz, a Whittier High School product, added 7 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and was named to the all-tournament team.
“We played great defense,” Turner said. “Our defense was just outstanding,” he reiterated. “It was total domination.”
In Saturday’s victory over San Bernardino Valley College, Ochoa scored a team-high 16 points to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Diaz had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman forward Abigail Vasquez (Wilson HS) put in 10 points and had four steals, two rebounds, two assists and a block. Kimberly Perez (Garfield HS) had six rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. Dynasty Shelby (Inglewood HS) had eight rebounds.
Ochoa poured in 26 points to lead ELAC past Sierra in the first round on Friday. She also recorded four rebounds, four assists and six steals. Diaz scored 12 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had two steals. Kyla Martin (Etiwanda HS) put in 14 points and five assists. Vasquez added 11 points and three rebounds. Guadalupe Perez (Garfield HS) brought down 10 rebounds, had three assists, a steal and a block.