VENTURA, Calif. - Shea Glasglow-Williams put together a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double and Merced College took a big lead over Palomar College only to see it slip away, but the Blue Devils got a big three-point play from Tajaheray McMahon down the stretch on their way to a 61-59 upset during Thursday's quarterfinal matchup at the California Community College Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship at Ventura College.
Merced (27-5), the north region's fourth seed, advances to Saturday's semifinal round at 1 p.m. against either L.A. Trade-Tech College or Fresno City College. Palomar (29-2), the top seed from the south, was paced by a 29-point, 14-rebound effort from Monica Todd.
Trailing by two points, Palomar had a chance to either tie or take the lead coming out of a timeout with 11 seconds left. But good defense by Merced prevented a clean inbounds pass which was eventually corralled by Kendall Crosby who couldn’t get a good luck as time ran out.
McMahon, whose three-point play underneath the basket with just 1:52 remaining, gave Merced a 61-59 lead, finished with 15 points, three rebounds two assists and a steal. Suzuna Shoji added 10 points while Trinity Washington dished eight assists.
The Blue Devils held Palomar to 24% from the floor in the first quarter, took a 16-14 lead after the first quarter and then led 36-35 at halftime following a high-scoring second quarter in which the Comets outscored Merced, 21-20. But a 10-0 run over the first five minutes of the third period - a span in which the Comets missed all six of their shots and had three turnovers - pushed the Blue Devils' lead up to double-digits, 45-35.
Four points from Todd keyed a Palomar surge that helped cut the deficit to just 45-41 late in the quarter but Merced to continue to hold off the Comets. Glasglow-Williams answered with five straight points during a 7-0 Blue Devils run to give Merced a 52-41 lead going into the final quarter.
Sophia Neubauer's three-pointer capped a furious 18-6 Palomar rally with just 3:02 to play, giving the Comets a 59-58 lead, but that would be their final points. McMahon then gave Merced a lead it would not surrender when she powered her way underneath to get a bucket and the foul for the key three-point play that proved to be the winning difference.
Merced shot just 31% for the game but Palomar was only at 29.6%.