Geri Montanio scored 37 points Thursday night to lead the Bakersfield College women's basketball team past Valley College, 74-69, in double overtime at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.
Ninth-seeded Bakersfield (22-7) will meet top-seeded Riverside at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Southern California community college regional tournament final. The winner will advance to the state tournament.
Valley (18-11) had plenty of chances to win. The Monarchs led by three points at halftime and by 10 with seven minutes left in regulation.
"We didn't deserve to win tonight," Valley Coach Jim Stephens said. "That's the worst we've played in 15 games. We didn't shoot well and we didn't rebound. We didn't play hard until the overtimes. Then we went to war. But we just didn't play well enough."
Fouls cost Valley in the end. Bakersfield went to the free-throw line 11 times in the two five-minute overtimes, making nine. Valley, meanwhile, went to the line six times and made four.
The Monarchs were also hampered in overtime by the loss of 6-0 forward Jill Daniels, who fouled out with 1:05 left in regulation. Daniels was Valley's leading scorer with 25 points. She made 12 of 25 field goals and had 16 points in the second half.
While Daniels was on the bench, Valley's Mary Jo Testa tried to pick up the slack. She scored half of the Monarchs' 10 points in the overtimes and finished with 17, but it wasn't enough to counter Montanio.
Montanio, who scored almost all of her points from the outside, had eight points in the extra periods, including two free throws with one second left to secure the victory.
A 5-7 guard, Montanio scored the first 10 points of the game for the Renegades. She was then shut out for 12 minutes before making five straight shots midway through the second half.
Montanio scored six unanswered points and gave Bakersfield a 56-55 lead with 1:18 left. Daniels then fouled out trying to block a layup by Bakersfield center Val Alvidrez. Valley sent the game into overtime when guard Lenise Collins tied the score at 57 on a driving layup with three seconds remaining.
Playing without Daniels, the Monarchs picked up the defensive pressure in the overtimes. In the first extra period, the Monarchs countered four Bakersfield free throws with baskets by Tina Johnson, Testa and Lisa Rodriguez. A jumper by Rodriguez made it 63-63 with 1:39 left in the period. The Monarchs escaped a close call and sent the game into the second overtime when Alvidrez missed the front end of a one-and-one.
In the second overtime, Bakersfield scored the first five points to take a 68-63 lead with three minutes left. The Renegades led, 70-65, and appeared in control with 2:30 left, but Valley came back again.
The Monarchs closed to within two, 70-68, on a free throw by Testa and a basket by Collins.