Canyons women’s basketball utilizes perimeter shooting to defeat Santa Monica College

Canyons sophomore guard Alexis Orellana tries to get around a Corsair defender in a conference matchup with Santa Monica College in the Cougar Cage Wednesday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

In only its second home game of the season, the College of the Canyons women’s basketball team took care of business against Santa Monica College 96-74 on Wednesday night behind a strong 3-point shooting performance.

Freshman guard McKenzie Stoehr struggled to start the game, missing her first four 3-pointers and ending up 1-6 from downtown at halftime.

She found her rhythm in the third quarter, however, making 6-of-6 long bombs to put the Cougars ahead for good.

Stoehr finished the game with 29 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal.

“She’s lucky she has me as her coach because I was a shooter. I hated when you miss three or four in a row and the coach takes you out and kills your confidence,” Canyons head coach Greg Herrick said about Stoehr. “I know the mentality of the shooter, you got to make the next shot. If you’re open I want you to shoot it. She makes them but not like that. She was on fire there for a while and I said, ‘Where’s that been?’”

Sophomore guard Alexis Orellana set the tempo by driving to the lane and pushing the fast break, even on made baskets.

Canyons sophomore guard Alexis Orellana drives to the paint for the layup in a conference matchup with Santa Monica College in the Cougar Cage Wednesday night. Elizabeth Medina/For the Signal

Whenever Canyons’ offense seemed to go stagnant, Orellana would work her way in the lane to get a bucket or find one of her teammates for an open shot.

Orellana finished with 22 points and eight assists, shooting 9-17 from the field and 3-7 from downtown.

“My guards got hot on the perimeter and that may have been the difference. Alexis is one of the top guards in California, I’ll be the first one to tell you talent is going to win the game,” Herrick said.

Backup guard Krystal Amato came in and gave the Cougars a spark off the bench, forcing the Corsairs into several turnovers with her suffocating defense.

She stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with two points, four rebounds, six assists, five steals and one block.

Sophomore guard Kaitlin Eells also hit some big shots for Canyons off the bench, finishing with 12 points, one rebound, two steals and two blocks. She also hit two 3-pointers.

In addition to catching fire from the perimeter, the Cougars dominated in the paint, outrebounding the Corsairs 47-38 including 24 offensive rebounds. The 24 offensive boards led to a bevy more second-chance opportunities for Canyons, who shot the ball 90 times compared to 64 field goals attempted by Santa Monica.

Freshman forward Cristian Patron was one of the enforcers down low for Canyons, finishing with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.

“Our whole philosophy is measured by how much pressure we put on you offensively, that’s what we try to do,” Herrick said. “Years that we’ve been at the top of the state, we’ve been able to do that.”

The Cougars move to 15-9 on the season and 2-0 in the Western State Conference, South and will face a tough conference foe in West Los Angeles on Saturday at home.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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