Women’s basketball: Pirates’ shooting goes ice cold in loss to Umpqua

The Peninsula College women’s basketball team got off to a great start this weekend and likewise did a fantastic job all game containing Umpqua’s star player Brooklyn Fely, but a disastrous third quarter was the Pirates’ undoing in a 73-55 NWAC Elite Eight defeat in March 2.

The women finished their season 23-3 with a North Region championship and an appearance in the Elite Eight with a team that was nearly all freshman. The great news for the Pirates is that they only graduate three sophomores.

Fely came in to Saturday’s game having scored 52 points in her previous game against Yakima Valley. The Pirates did a good job keeping her in check, holding her to just 14 points, but they struggled mightily with their shooting, especially in the second half. Peninsula shot just 25 percent (20-for-80) in the game and 0-for-21 in the third quarter.

All four of the Pirates’ third-quarter points came from the free-throw line.

“At this stage of the playoffs, you have to score,” Peninsula coach Alison Crumb said. She said as the scoring drought dragged on through the third quarter, “every shot for them became more stressful.”

Crumb said it was a sad way to end the season, especially for Peninsula’s three sophomores — Talia Marini, Jenilee Donovan and Sunny Pedebone.

“We were done [in the postseason] a little earlier than we would have liked,” she said. “But we can use this as motivation for next year.”

Peninsula got off to a great start, getting up 26-10 against the Riverhawks halfway through the second quarter. Umpqua rallied to cut Peninsula’s lead to 31-28 at the half.

The game was knotted at 35-35 with 2:30 left in the third quarter when Umpqua went on a huge 18-0 run over the next four minutes to take control of the game at 53-35.

Despite going completely cold from the field for the entire third quarter, the Pirates rallied a couple of times in the fourth, mostly behind Sequim’s Jelissa Julmist, who had her best game of the year. Julmist scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, shooting 6-for-7 from the floor to bring the Pirates back into the game at 54-46 with five minutes left.

Down just eight, Peninsula had the ball and had chances to cut the lead down to five or six points, but missed a couple of shots as Fely got the ball back for Umpqua with one of her 16 rebounds.

The Riverhawks were able to get the lead back up to 63-50. Ciera Tugade Agasiva hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 63-53 with 3:08 left in the game, but that was the Pirates’ last gasp as the Riverhawks hit eight straight free throws to open the lead to a safe 73-53 gap in the final minute.

“It was just a little too late. We just didn’t have enough time,” Crumb said.

Julmist led the Pirates with 17 points. Alexa Mackey had 13 points and eight rebounds, Agasiva 10 points and Shania Moananu had eight points and seven rebounds.

Umpqua, along with nearby Lane Community College, is one of the historic powerhouses in the NWAC in women’s basketball. The Riverhawks won NWAC titles in 1997 and 2000 and played in the championship game in 2014, 2018 and 2019.

Pirates open with win

The Peninsula College women’s basketball team won its 18th game in a row on March 1 and it was a typical Pirates’ win, not necessarily pretty all the time, but utterly dominating.

The No. 1 seeded Pirates, also ranked No. 4 in the NWAC, crushed Centralia with its stifling defense 60-35 in the opening game of the NWAC Tournament.

The Pirates missed some early layups against the Trailblazers, but they got Centralia’s big scorer Madison Gore into early foul trouble and hit four 3-pointers in the first half to take a 29-20 lead into the break. The Pirates held just an 18-17 lead midway through the second quarter but opened up a big lead when Agasiva finished the half by hitting two straight 3-pointers.

Ten different Pirates scored with six players scoring at least five points.

“We don’t really have the height, that’s been a challenge for us all season,” said Donovan, who scored all 10 of her second-half points in the second half.

“[But] we’re so diverse. We have so much diversity on both sides of the ball,” she said.

The Pirates blew the game wide open in the third, outscoring the Blazers 19-6 and taking a commanding lead as Donovan, who barely played the first half due to foul trouble, and Allie Greene each hit 3-pointers. Shania Moananu added six free throws in the quarter.

Moananu showed one of the reasons why she was the North Region MVP as she didn’t put up huge stats, hitting just two field goals for the game. But she was the primary defender on Gore, who came in to the game averaging 17 points a game. She finished with just five points with Moananu glued to her most of the game.