Unfortunate home ending for sophomores

The mood started out bright and the cheers loud.

Before the tip-off of the Santa Monica College women's basketball game on Wednesday night, the three sophomores on the squad were honored at the team's final home game of the season.

Completing their final year of eligibility, Elvia Medina, Cherifa Chatti and Clinae Trainor were each presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Unfortunately for the Lady Corsairs, they could not send their sophomores off with a win, as they fell to the Los Angeles Valley College Monarchs 70-54.

Defense was a key factor all night as the Lady Corsairs struggled to defend the Monarchs. LA Valley shot 52 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three-point line, most of them wide open.

Monarchs guard Lydia Pope had her way with SMC, shooting 6-11 from the field, and finishing with 17 points.

Freshman guard Aniese Palmore, who leads the team in points per game, led the way with 16 points. Freshman forward Imani Holloway chipped in with 12.

On the opposite side, the Monarchs did a solid job defensively, holding the Lady Corsairs to only 35 percent shooting, 24 percent from three, and limiting them to only three free throw attempts.

Poor decision-making and sloppy passing, en route to 28 turnovers for SMC, also contributed to the loss.

Despite snapping their eight-game losing streak on Feb. 13 against Glendale College, the Lady Corsairs have struggled since, falling to the College of the Canyons Cougars 84-68 on Feb. 16.

Freshman forward Asia Watts had another spark off the bench, doing her best to keep the team alive, once again making a big impact rebounding wise as well as being an enforcer in the paint.

Rebounding was the one area that the Lady Corsairs dominated, out-rebounding the Monarchs 52-33.

"We just need to be more consistent is all," said Watts, who said she plans on returning next season.

With the season coming to a close, thoughts already turn to next year. The majority of the team players are expected to return.

"We're very young, pretty much all freshman," said head coach Lydia Strong.

Taking a look at what can be done, as well as scouting potential new players, is a task the coaching staff is already undertaking.

"We're actively recruiting," said Strong. "We have to address our needs; there's a lot of them."