Depleted Corsairs hope to grow from loss

Sometimes it’s just one of those nights. The Santa Monica College women’s basketball team shot only 28.2 percent from field, and had 33 turnovers en route to a 68-55 loss to East Los Angeles College in the opening round of the Lady Charger Classic on Friday night.

“Nobody’s going to win a game when you have that many turnovers,” said assistant coach Karlia Batalla. Batalla filled in for head coach Lydia Strong, who was unable to attend the game due to illness.

Aside from missing their head coach, the Corsairs were without several key players, including freshman standout Imani Holloway, due to injuries and personal matters.

A local star from Santa Monica High School, Holloway had been named All Tournament Team for two previous tournaments, and is second on the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game.

Despite getting off to a strong start, the Corsairs fell behind going into halftime, and the struggles continued as they would get no closer than eight in the second half, trailing by as many as 18.

Especially noticeable was SMC’s lack of interior play. The Corsairs were eaten up inside, having no answer for Huskies’ center Karina Ortiz, who scored 12 points on 60 percent shooting, pulled down 14 rebounds, and registered two blocked shots.

“[Ortiz] got hot on the inside, and we were unable to make adjustments,” said Batalla.

Freshman guard Kierra Jackson, who was one of only two players to score in double figures, attributed the team’s loss to poor defense and simple error.

“We were outsized; we made simple mistakes like not getting back defensively,” said Jackson.

The Corsairs did take solace in the fact that despite the disadvantage in the middle, they were able to outrebound the Huskies 44-36.

The Corsairs would also lose 62-58 to Palomar College in a consolation round. The losses drop SMC to 4-5 and near the bottom of the Western State South Conference.

Despite the early struggles, the team believes that this will only make them a stronger unit and look for the return of their missing players.

“Once we’re all together, we’ll be a lot more cohesive,” said Batalla, who explained the difficulties of Lydia Strong being out.

“We’re a young team right now,” added Jackson. “We’re making progress; it’s a learning experience.”

The Corsairs will take their talents on the road to San Mateo for a three-day tournament beginning Friday, Dec. 14.