The Lady Monarchs keep playoff hopes alive.
By Dede Ogbueze, Staff Writer
Adaori Obi and Diamond O’Connor led the Valley College Lady Monarchs (14-13, 10-4) to a 64-41 landslide victory Wednesday night against a College of the Canyons (23-5, 18-1) team that was undefeated in Western State Conference play.
After routing the Glendale College Vaqueros (3-24, 0-14) 74-29, Saturday afternoon the Lady Monarchs have now secured a playoff berth. Valley will be traveling to Orange Coast on Feb. 24 to compete in a play-in determining who will face no. 1 seed Mt. San Antonio College in the second round of the tournament.
Obi, a sophomore forward who has committed to play at UC Riverside, led the team in scoring and rebounding with 24 points on 8-18 shooting and 16 rebounds. Although it doesn’t show in the stats sheet, her defensive presence was also a huge factor in the win. Her smothering defense held star Canyons forward Hannah Green to 7 points in 34 minutes.
O’Connor contributed a stellar performance of her own. She scored 18 points and pulled in 4 rebounds and 1 blocked shot. Valley’s double-high offense provided several opportunities for O’Connor to take defenders to the basket.
The Lady Monarchs established dominance early by jumping out to a 12-0 lead. Valley College led for the entire way and outscored College of the Canyons in all but the final quarter.
“The main focus this game was energy,” said Obi, a biochemistry major. “I was hungry going into this game and everyone came in with that same mindset.”
The primary ball handler for Valley is Diana Ruenas, a sophomore guard from San Fernando High School. Ruenas added 6 points, 2 steals, 3 rebounds, and 1 block.
“Our girls are so resilient,” said head coach Monica Hang. “My message to them was as simple as it gets: have fun and play hard and I think their effort really showed tonight.”
The Lady Monarchs had to be resilient, as the team has been plagued by injuries all season.
Sophomore star Sydney Hua (UC Irvine Commit) has been sidelined for the majority of the season with a stress fracture in her leg. Obi was also forced to sit multiple games this season after suffering a moderate concussion.