Freshman forward Carolyn Stribling's one-woman show was not nearly enough to offset Modesto's balance and superior height and depth Wednesday night as Taft College dropped its Central Valley Conference opener, 69-49. Stribling, who prepped at West High in Bakersfield, scored a game-high 25 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had seven steals. The Cougars will need better balance if they are to be competitive against highly ranked Reedley College when the 18-5 Tigers come to town Saturday for a 5 p.m. tipoff in the Cougar Sports Center.
A pesky defense allowed the Cougars to stay with the taller Pirates early, but another cold shooting night didn't allow TC to stay in it for long. Modesto led by two at 15-13 as TC's pressure defense forced a series of early turnovers. But the Pirates outscored the Cougars 18-2 over the last eight and a half minutes of the first half to lead 33-19 at the half. Modesto opened the second half with a 14-5 run in the first seven and a half minutes to open a 23-point lead. Stribling got her points on six of 13 field goals and 13 of 17 from the free-throw line by driving to the hoop. Virtually all her points came in the paint.
Meanwhile, Modesto's 6-2 center Krystle Brown was working inside for 14 points while 5-8 guard Britney Borba was popping in five from behind the arc for a team-high 19 points. Ten of Modesto's 12 players scored. The Cougars have just eight players and seven scored. The only exception was Lexi Garvey who had an off night. She scored 59 points in the three Foothill tournament games last weekend. The Cougars shot just 31 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line. Nikki Thompson scored 6 points, Sharde Little 5, Marsharica Quinn 4, and Ashley Anfield and Nikki Thompson 2. Thompson also pulled down seven rebounds.