Taft opens season at SBCC MTXE Crossover tournament

Taft opens season at SBCC MTXE Crossover tournament

The 2019-20 Taft College women's basketball season got off to a rough start as the Cougars went 0-3 at the Santa Barbara City College MTXE Crossover tournament that began on Friday. Taft suffered a 77-43 loss to host SBCC in its season-opener on Friday, fell 59-44 to Ohlone College on Saturday, and was edged 71-68 by Chaffey College to close the event on Sunday.

Freshman Sam Washburn was impressive in her Cougar debut, leading Taft by averaging 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists over the three games.

Taft got off to a slow start in the loss to SBCC on Friday. The Cougars fell behind 11-3 and were down by nine points (17-8) at the end of the first quarter. Despite playing better over the third and fourth quarters, the Cougars couldn't erase a 43-18 halftime deficit.

Washburn scored a team-high 13 points in her first game in a Cougar uniform. She added 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Sara Martin added 11 points while Maysan Raleigh led Taft with 5 rebounds to go with 6 points.

It was the complete opposite for the Cougars against Ohlone. Kaylani Proctor scored 9 of her team-high 17 points in the first quarter to help give Taft a 15-11 lead after the first quarter.

The game remained close in the second. Proctor nailed a three-pointed just before the end of the half to send the Cougars into the break trailing Ohlone by two points at 28-26. But Ohlone went on to outscore Taft 31-18 in the second half to pull out the win.

Washburn nearly had a double-double in the loss, as she totaled 14 points and 9 rebounds. Ayanna Dunn contributed 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

Taft's best chance at a win came against Chaffey on Sunday. After falling behind 49-33 at halftime, the Cougars took advantage of Chaffey's cold shooting and nearly came away with the come-from-behind win.

The Cougars closed the third with a 9-2 run to cut the Chaffey lead to six points (58-52) heading into the fourth. Taft continued to chip away at the Panthers' advantage. With 5:30 to play, Washburn's free throw tied up the game at 62-62. Washburn missed her next free throw but Sydney Taylor got the offensive rebound and fed Washburn for a layup that put Taft in front 64-62 at the 5:21 mark.

Chaffey got a pair of free throws from Harjunderr Takher with 5:00 left to tie up the at 64-64. The score remained all tied up for the next two minutes before the two squads exchanged leads.

Wit the game tied at 66, Ariana Corbin sank a three-pointer with 2:22 left in the game that put Chaffey ahead for good.

The Cougars had once last chance. Washburn's layup with 48 seconds got Taft within three points (71-68). After a missed Chaffey three-pointer, Proctor's three-point shot at the buzzer didn't go in and the Panthers escaped with the win.

Washburn led all with 27 points. Sara Martin scored 9 points, while Kailani Paulino came off the bench to contribute 8 points and 5 rebounds. Taylor grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds and Mercy Montgomery added 8 points.

Taft (0-3) will look to pick up its first win next Thursday (Nov. 14) at 6 p.m. when the Cougars host Allan Hancock College in their home opener.