Cuesta College

Cuesta College women’s basketball team downs L.A. Pierce at home

The Cuesta College women’s basketball team rallied from a late deficit to beat L.A. Pierce 61-54 in the Western State Conference home opener for the Cougars on Saturday.

The Brahmas had a 51-47 lead with 7:29 remaining, but the Cougars went on a 9-0 run over the final 2:44 to pull out the win.

“The good news is I saw a little life in them when we got down,” Cuesta coach Ron Barba said.

Templeton High grad Autumn Russell had a double-double with 18 points and 18 rebounds for Cuesta (6-12, 1-1), which had only six players available because of injuries and eligibility problems.

L.A. Pierce had only seven players available. Barba said the new eligibility rules are hitting lots of teams hard.

“It’s really affecting a lot of people, I believe,” he said. “When you throw in new rules at the semester, it can wipe out teams that only have eight kids to begin with.”

The Cougars finished with a shooting percentage under 30 percent again, but went 18 of 29 from the free-throw line.

“I thought that was the difference in the game, that we got to the line,” Barba said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot well again. I feel like we are getting good shots, we just aren’t putting them in. I tell the girls you gotta keep shooting to win.”

The Cougars head to Santa Barbara City College for a 5 p.m. game Wednesday.