SAN DIEGO • The Barstow Community College women's basketball team played a longer season in 2011-12 than any women's squad had in the past, but saw play come to a close with their latest game.
The Lady Vikings made the postseason this year for the first time ever in the history of the program. They took a bus trip to San Diego to face off against San Diego Mesa College in the first round of the California Community College Women's Basketball Association Tournament on Wednesday. When it was over, the home team Olympians had the victory, winning by an 80-61 score.
As the final suggests, the Vikings did pretty well offensively, but didn't do a good enough job of keeping Mesa contained. Putting up points is all well and good, but offense needs to be coupled with a strong defense, and that's where Barstow was lacking, according to head coach Tim Woods.
"We didn't execute like I wanted us to. Defensively, we didn't show up," he said. "Defense wins games; you have to play at both ends."
Mesa got the best of the Vikings at the foul line, going 25-for-31 in free throws to Barstow's 9-for-18. There was also the matter of the Olympians' outside shooting, as they drained 11 3-pointers to the Vikings' two.
"We didn't follow the game plan to run them off the 3-point line and make them shoot two's," said Woods. "Our rotation was either late or not there at all. Eleven 3-pointers, there's the difference in the game right there."
The Vikings stayed competitive well into the second half, and were trailing by just four points at halftime. The deficit was cut to three with about seven minutes left in the game, at which point Mesa hit a couple of those 3-pointers. The Vikings then got it back to a seven-point game, forcing them to foul down the stretch, and unfortunately for Barstow, the Olympians did a good job converting at the line.
"We were still very much in it for the first 12 minutes of the second half, then the wheels fell off," said Woods. "They came ready to play, and we did too, but you could tell they wanted it just a little bit more."
Nisha Barrett picked up one last double-double for Barstow, scoring 16 points, along with 13 rebounds, five steals and four blocks. Claire Williams was also in double figures, with 11 points.
While the loss was disappointing, the season was quite a ride for Woods and his team.
"After the game I told the girls I was sad for it to end, but it was great just getting to the playoffs for the first time in school history," he said. "In the last two years, the sophomores went 39-18. There aren't too many sophomores who can say they had that kind of record."
There were also four freshmen on the squad this year who will be back next season. Along with the returning talent, and some new recruits the coaches have their eye on, there are high hopes for next year.
"If we get the girls we're trying to, we could be even better next year," Woods said. "We have two players committed already.
"I'm proud of what we did. I appreciate the support we got from the administration and the community. I hope next year we can duplicate, or go even further."