By Curtis Pashelka for Bay Area News Group
Published on March 18, 2019
The Diablo Valley College women’s basketball team had faced large deficits before this season.
So when the Vikings were down big to Moorpark in Sunday’s California Community College Athletic Association championship game at Ventura College, there was no panic.
DVC overcame a slow start, erasing a 16-point first half deficit to earn a 68-61 victory over Moorpark and the program’s first-ever state title, as the Vikings finished the season with a 32-1 record.
Sophomore Jahnay Anderson, a 2016 Archbishop Mitty grad and one of three Vikings to play all 40 minutes, scored 21 points and Elite Eight Tournament MVP Zahria Hendrix added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Anderson and teammate Sierra Smith, a 2017 Salesian graduate, were named to the all-tournament team.
“We play in a really tough (Big 8) conference, so we’ve been down before,” DVC coach Ramaundo Vaughn told the CCCAA afterward. “Our kids are always composed. The fact that most of them are sophomores – they never lose their composure. And they shoot the ball so well that they know, once our kids start hitting some, we’ve got a chance.
“We just had to do what we do. It wasn’t a whole lot different, it was just, ‘Hey, you know what? We’ve played 32 games, just keep doing what we’ve been doing, that’s been successful.’”
DVC went 15-1 in the Big 8 and advanced to the Elite Eight after beating both Mission (84-42) and Sacramento City (54-50) in the Northern Regional playoffs earlier this month.
The Vikings got past host Ventura 59-57 in the March 15 state quarterfinals, as Leilani Moncrease hit two late free throws to secure the win. Smith had 22 points, Moncrease had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five steals, and Daisha Abdelkader had 10 assists.
In the Vikings’ 67-59 semifinal win over San Joaquin Delta a day later, Hendrix had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Moncrease added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Abdelkader finished with 16 points and Smith added 10 points.
Against Moorpark, though, DVC hit just two its first 12 shots and found itself down 26-10 midway through the second quarter.
Then the Vikings got hot, especially from behind the arc.
Hendrix hit a three, Jasmine Kong, who graduated from Arroyo in 2018, hit three of her own and Anderson knocked down two, helping DVC to cut the lead to 34-30 at halftime.
DVC then went on an 8-2 run to close the third quarter and held a 55-50 lead going into the final eight minutes. Abdelkader was held scoreless until she hit her first shot, a 3-pointer, in the third quarter.
The Vikings made 15 3-pointers, with Anderson making seven. The Vikings shot 48.4 percent from 3-point range as a team.
DVC was up 63-51 with just under eight minutes left when Moorpark held the Vikings scoreless for seven minutes to cut the score to 63-61 with 53 seconds remaining.
“They play really hard,” Hendrix said. “It’s a game of runs. They went on their runs and then it was just our time.”
Smith made two free throws with 23 second left to make the score 65-61.
“I think we’re a better defensive team that people give us credit for,” Vaughn said. “We led the state in scoring, but we do a really job defending. Moorpark averaged 86-88 (points) and we held them to 61.”
Information from the California Community College Athletic Association and the Los Angeles Daily News contributed to this story.