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Women's Basketball

Mission Conference Champions 1978-79

PCC/PCAC Champions 1984-85, 2000-2001, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15

Undefeated Conference Seasons 1984-85, 2007-08, 2008-09

"JOIN THE TEAM" (PROSPECTIVE COMET ATHLETES)  /  "DONATE"

2014-15 Schedule/Results   |   2014-15 Roster  |  2014-15 Stats  |  Coaching Staff

2013-14 Season    |   2013-14 Schedule/Results    |   2013-14 Roster

2012-13 Season   |   2012-13 Schedule/Results   |   2012-13 Roster

2014-15 Comets

(PHOTO BY MELINDA FINN)


Off-Season ...

Tomlinson, Sumpter land NAIA scholarships

SAN MARCOS (4-26-2015) -- Lee Lee Tomlinson (left) and Daijon Sumpter (right)  from Palomar's Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship women's basketball teams have signed with NAIA colleges.

Starting point guard Tomlinson, a 5-foot-2 sophomore from Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, and accepted a scholarship to Presentation College of Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Backup guard Sumpter, a 5-foot-4 sophomore out of Fallbrook High School, accepted a scholarship to Bethel College of North Newton, Kansas.

Tomlinson averaged 2.1 assists per game and Sumpter played a key role off the bench as coach Leigh Marshall's Comets reached the Southern California Regional championship game, missing a trip to the State Final Four by one game.

2014-15 Season ...

ABOVE: Palomar's Leigh Marshall has been honored by the California Community College Women's Basketball Coaches Association as Coach of the Year. -- Courtesy photo. BELOW: Marshall is pictured in a file photo by Hugh Cox

Comets' Marshall named state Coach of Year

NORWALK (3-15-2015) --
Leigh Marshall, who has coached Palomar to two of the last three Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championships and guided the 2014-15 Comets to within six points of a state Final Four appearance, is the California Community College Coach of the Year.

Marshall was honored with the South award by the California Commnity Women's Basketball Coaches Association, which selects one coach from the South and one from the North. She received the award at the CCCAA State Final Four at Cerritos College over the weekend.

Marshall previously was honored as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Her 2014-15 team went 26-4 (13-1 to win the PCAC), drawing a first-round bye in the Regionals and defeating Long Beach City College 51-45 at The Dome and defending state champion Ventura 69-47 on the roadback-to-back.

The Comets were finally eliminated 60-54 by Mt. SAC, the Southern California No 1 seed, one win short of the Fknal Four in one of two Southern Cal regional bracket championship games. The Mounties then won their first game in the Final Four to advance to 34-0 on the season before being upset by Chabot College of Hayward 63-58 in the state championship game on Sunday.

ABOVE: Palomar's Keisha Cox drives through Mt. SAC defenders on Saturday night. She scored with 11 minutes to play to pull the Comets to within two points of the undefeated (33-0) and Southern California No. 1-seed Mounties in the Elite Eight game at Mt. SAC. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Cox, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. BELOW RIGHT: Lynnzy Troxell, who was the second-leading rebounder for both teams with 9.

Cox scores 22 but unbeaten Mt. SAC wins

WALNUT (3-07-2015) -- Palomar closed to within four points in the final seconds, but undefeated Mt. SAC held on to defeat the Comets 60-54 in Saturday night's championship game of one of the two Southern California Regional women's basketball playoff brackets.

Keisha Cox scored 22 points for Palomar, high for both teams, and also had 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Melissa Allen had 8 points, Jessica Scott 6 points and Lynnzy Troxell scored 5 points to go along with 9 rebounds.

For Southern California No. 1 seed Mt. SAC (33-0), Priscilla Lopez was the leading scorer with 10 points as the Mounties, playing in their own gym, avoided the upset of the year. Sessharique Youngblood and Lashanique Youngblood each added 9 points for Mt. SAC.

Palomar turned the ball over 31 times, which cost the Comets the win and a trip to next week's CCCAA Final Four at Cerritos. Instead, the Mounties advance after barely keeping their hopes intact for their third state championship in the last four years and seventh state title in the last 12 years.

"I was very disappointed (with the turnovers)," coach Leigh Marshall said. "You can't expect to win with 31 turnovers."

Palomar, which had cut a six-point halftime deficit to 29-28 on a 3-pointer by Chelse Ayala with 17:27 to play, finishes its best season in history with a 26-4 record and its first-ever Elite Eight appearance. The Comets reached the Elite Eight with a 69-47 blowout victory last week on the road over defending state champion Ventura.

If Mt. SAC wins its seventh state championship, it will tie Ventura for the most state titles in history.

PC stuns defending state champions 69-47

VENTURA (3-04-2015) -- Palomar upset defending state community college champion Ventura 69-47 in the teams' Southern California Regional semifinal women's basketball game Friday night at the Ventura College Athletic Event Center.

The Comets' Keisha Cox (left) had a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds playing much of the final 10 minutes with four fouls.

Tessa Balcom scored 17 points and dished off 4 assists. Melissa Allen had 11 points and Chelse Ayala (right) contributed 10 points. Mikaela Shannon pulled down 10 rebounds.

"Cox was a big key, obviously," coach Leigh Marshall said. "Ayala really stepped up off the bench. We got her some scoring opportunities and she contributed some steals. I thought the play of our point guards, Ayala and (Lee Lee) Tomlinson was critical for us. They played great defense on their point guard (Aubri Smith), who is their best player."

With the No. 5-seeded Comets down 17-16, Cox, Allen, Ayala and Ashleigh Barnes combined to outscore the fourth-seeded Pirates 14-2 in a run that put Palomar on top 30-19 with just over 3 minutes to play in the first half.

Ventura closed the gap, but the Ayala's layup in the final minute put the Comets up 32-24 and Cox fed Lynnzy Troxell underneath for a basket with 2 seconds remaining that made it 34-24 at intermission.

In the second half Balcom drained two 3-pointers and Allen added a bucket to put Palomar on top by 23 points late on the way to its seventh straight win.

Palomar (26-3) will play Mt. SAC (32-0), a winner over Cypress in one of two Southern California regional finals, in Walnut this Saturday for a spot in the state Final Four the following weekend at Cerritos College.

Ventura finishes the season 26-6.

ABOVE: Keisha Cox takes the ball to the basket to tie the game at 45 with 2:28 to play in the game Saturday night. Jessica Scott is at the right. Cox led both teams with 18 points as the Comets bounced Long Beach City College out of the Southern California Regional Playoffs. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Lynnzy Troxell, who had a game-high 10 rebounds and two big blocks.

Cox pulls Comets through at the end in victory

SAN MARCOS (2-28-2015) -- Keisha Cox  took over the game in the closing minutes Saturday night and lifted Palomar to a 51-46 victory over Long Beach City College at The Dome in the second round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs.

Trailing 28-22 at intermission, the 12th-seeded Vikings scored seven unanswered points to begin the second half and led most of the way until the late going as the No. 5 seed Comets got plenty of shots inside but simply couldn't put the ball in the basket.

But Cox, who led all scorers with 18 points, had three key buckets, two big defensive rebounds, a steal and two of her game-high four assists down the stretch. And Jessica Scott, the Comets' second-leading scorer with eight points, contributed two late free throws and a basket with 25 seconds remaining to finish off the visitors.

Lynnzy Troxell hauled down 10 rebounds, four on the offensive board, to lead both teams. She also contributed two big blocks. Ashleigh Barnes had seven rebounds.

Palomar's pressing defense also took a toll on the Vikings.

"Keisha Cox really stepped up and crried us in a game where we didn't shoot the ball very well and turned it over too many times," coach Leigh Marshall said. "Lynnzy Troxell was a stud on the boards and did a great job defensively."

Long Beach threw a lineup that included six players 6-feet or better, three of them 6-2 and Darshana Taafua, the Vikings' 6-2 sophomore center, enabled the Vikings to take control of the game but fouled out with 1:31 left in the second half.

"Long Beach is a lot better than a 12 seed and I knew they would be very tough to handle," Marshall said. "They're one of the biggest teams in the south, they're very skilled and they play hard. We got some crucial rebounds, big buckets and some stops at the end to seal it.

"I'm so proud of this team for stepping up."

The Comets (25-3) will travel to Ventura to play the fourth-seeded Pirates on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a third-round game at the Ventura Athletic Event Center. Ventura (26-5) defeated Fullerton 67-60 on Friday night.

BOX

Cox Player of Yr., All-State; Marshall honored

SAN DIEGO (2-21-2015) -- Conference champion Palomar swept the two major awards Saturday as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball coaches gathered at San Diego Miramar College for their 2015 post-season meeting.

Keisha Cox (left) was voted PCAC Player of the Year honors. She followed that up by being selected to the All-State first team by the California Community College Womnen's Basketball Coaches Association.

Leigh Marshall (right) was selected as the PCAC's Coach of the Year.

Palomar's other first-team All-PCAC selections were Melissa Allen, Jessica Scott and Tessa Balcom.  

The Comets' Lee Lee Tomlinson was voted to the second team.

Cox is a sophomore from Mission Hills High School who played one season at Saddleback College. Allen is a freshman from Mission Hills who transferred from Cal Berkeley. Scott is a sophomore from West Hills High School. Balcom is a sophomore from Ramona High School.

ABOVE: Comets celebrate their undisputed Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship after beating San Diego Mesa 77-33 on Friday night in San Diego. -- Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW: Keisha Cox

Cox gets 20; PC wins title outright as MSJ falls

SAN DIEGO (2-20-2015) -- Palomar closed out its women's basketball season with a 77-33 victory at San Diego Mesa Friday night behind Keisha Cox's 20 points, then found out it had won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship outright when Southwestern upset Mt. San Jacinto 66-52.

The Comets will find out their Southern California Regional seed on Monday.

"Keisha (Cox) played great," coach Leigh Marshall said.

Jessica Scott had 12 points for the Comets (24-3, 13-1). Ashleigh Barnes came off the bench and scored 10 points.

Palomar put 12 of its 13 players in the scoring column.

TOP PHOTO: Jessica Scott gets above the crowd to get the ball up in Palomar's 79-36 victory over rival MiraCosta on Wednesday night at The Dome. -- Photo by Philip Farry. DIRECTLY BELOW:  Players and coaches celebrate Sophomore Night. Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW: Keisha Cox, who led the Comets with 14 points as coach Leigh Marshall again played her whole roster liberally

Comets roll up Spartans, one win from title

SAN MARCOS (2-18-2015) -- The Palomar women's basketball team rocked Highway 78 rival MiraCosta for the second time this season Wednesday night, demolishing the Spartans 79-36 at The Dome.

The state No. 8-ranked Comets, who defeated the Spartans 83-48 in the first round back on Jan. 23, advanced to 23-3 on the season and 12-1 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. They can wrap up no worse than a tie for the conference championship by winning their regular-season finale on Friday at San Diego Mesa.

They remain in a tie for the conference lead with 10th-ranked Mt. San Jacinto, which beat Mesa 76-30 on Wednesday and is 24-4, 12-1. The Eagles close their regular season on Friday at Southwestern. If Palomar were to win Friday and Southwestern were to upset Mt. San Jacinto, the Comets would win the conference title outright.

Keisha Cox (14 points), Jessica Scott (11 points) and Mikaela Shannon (10 points) scored in double figures in Friday's rout of the Spartans. Lynnzy Troxell had nine points and Daijon Sumpter added eight as Palomar put 12 players in the scoring column. The Comets led at halftime 49-21.

ABOVE: Palomar's Ashleigh Barnes (No. 20) tries to avoid Grossmont's Abigail Vargas, who dives between her legs to try to get the ball. No. 4 for the Comets is Lee Lee Tomlinson. -- Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW LEFT: Keisha Cox, who scored 17 to lead the Palomar, which won 90-65 on Friday night. BELOW RIGHT: Tessa Balcom, who scored 16 points

Comets roll on road vs. Griffins for 22nd win

EL CAJON (2-13-2015) -- Leading by eight points at halftime, Palomar scored 52 points in the second half and went on to bury Grossmont 90-65 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball game at Griffin Gym.

Keisha Cox 17 points) and Tessa Balcom (16 points) led four Comets in double figures as Palomar ran its record to 22-3 on the season, 11-1 to remain tied with Mt. San Jacinto for first place in conference.

Melissa Allen (14 points) and Lee Lee Tomlinson (10 points) also scored in double figures, while the Griffins' Abigail Vargas went 13-for-19 from the free throw line and led both teams with 33 points.

Ashleigh Barnes (9 rebounds), Mikaela Shannon (8), Jessica Scott (7) and Cox (7) led the way on the boards, where the Comets had a 47-30 edge.

TOP PHOTO: Keisha Cox drives between San Diego City College defenders Nyaduop Lam (32) and Ericka Weber (11) to score for the Comets with in the second half on Wednesday night. Cox was fouled on the play and tacked on a free throw to make the score 61-28. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Daijon Sumpter (No. 14) steals the ball. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC runs past City College, is 10-1 in PCAC

SAN MARCOS (2-11-2015) -- Palomar looked out of sync for much of its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference matchup with visiting San Diego City College in the second game of Wednesday night's Coaches vs. Cancer basketball doubleheader.

But the Comets drew steadily away in the second half to win going away over the Knights 71-35, advancing to 21-3 on the season and 10-1 in the PCAC. With three games to play, they're tied for first place with Mt. San Jacinto, which is 22-4 and and 10-1 in conference after beating Grossmont on Wednesday.

Freshman guard Melissa Allen sparked the Comets by scoring 17 points, 13 in the first half, and connected on three 3-pointers. Keisha Cox, who got in early foul trouble and was scoreless at halftime, contributed all of her 11 points in the second half and Mikaela Shannon came off the bench to join Allen and Cox in double figures wit 10 points. Palomar led at halftime 35-20.

The Comets' remaining regular season games find them at Grossmont on Friday, home to MiraCosta on Wednesday and at San Diego Mesa next Friday.

Palomar blows out Imperial Valley by 101-39

IMPERIAL (2-06-2015) -- Coach Leigh Marshall rotated five players in and five out every five minutes on Friday night as Palomar's women's basketball team advanced to 20-3 (9-1 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference) with a 101-39 victory on the road over Imperial Valley.

Ashley Barnes (left) led the Comets with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Lynnzy Troxell and Jessica Scott each contributed 12 points and 8 rebounds. Titiana Navarro scored 12 points. Keisha Cox had 8 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Drea Hollins dished off four assists.

"It was great to see everyone get that much playing time," Marshall said.

Eagles win for 1st time in 3 tries, in tie for 1st

SAN JACINTO (2-04-2015) -- After absorbing a pair of 14-point defeats to state sixth-ranked Palomar in the teams' first two meetings, one in a tournament and the other in the first round of Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play, Mt. San Jacinto finally beat the Comets.

The 15th-ranked Eagles won 74-68 in the second round of conference play on Wednesday night at Mt. San Jacinto as the Comets found out how difficult it is to beat another powerhouse team three straight times in the same season.

Palomar is now 19-3 on the season, 8-1 in conference, after its eight-game winning streak went by the boards. Mt. San Jac, the state community college runner-up two years ago and the other power team in the PCAC, is 20-4 and 8-1.

Keisha Cox (above left) finished with 26 points for the Comets, including a 10-for-12 performance from the free throw line. Melissa Allen (right) had 12 points. The Eagles won the game at the line, going 25-for-36 compared to Palomar's 19-for-27.

"We also had a great rebounding effort and energy output from Mikaela Shannon off the bench for us," coach Leigh Marshall said.

Added Marshall: "They just wanted it more than us tonight and outplayed us in every aspect. It's difficult to lose anytime but to lose this way is extremely disappointing."

TOP PHOTO: Tessa Balcom drives toward the basket against Southwestern's Anessa Wolfblack (4) and A.C. Flauta on Friday night. Balcom scored at the end of the drive to put the Comets up 31-20 early in the second half. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Keisha Cox drives down the lane to score with 3:14 remaining.  -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Balcom scores 20, Cox 15 as Comets survive

SAN MARCOS (1-29-2015) -- Unranked Southwestern gave Palomar a mini-scare before the state sixth-ranked Comets drew out in the closing minutes to a 62-47 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball victory on Friday night at The Dome.

The Comets (19-2, 8-0 in conference) led the Jaguars in double-figure points most of the way before the visitors closed the gap to 47-41 with 5 minutes, 19 seconds to play.

Palomar then outscored Southwestern 15-6 down the stretch to win going away.

Tessa Balcom (left, 20 points, three 3-pointers) and Keisha Cox (right, 15 points) scored in double figures for Palomar. Melissa Allen scored eight points. Ashleigh Barnes added seven.

The Comets led 26-14 at the half.

ABOVE: Tessa Balcom brings the ball up the court in Wednesday's 80-38 win over San Diego Mesa. Keisha Cox (11) trails the play. -- Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW: Jessica Scott. Balcom and Scott each scored 13 points as coach Leigh Marshall again split playing time among her entire roster.

Palomar (18-2) continues to pound PCAC foes

SAN MARCOS (1-28-2015) -- Palomar, the state's sixth-ranked community college women's basketball team, continues to pillage through its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference schedule.

Wednesday night's victim was San Diego Mesa as the Comets (18-2, 7-0) continued to rotate their entire roster in and out of the game on the way to an 80-38 victory.

After 76-68 and 80-68 victories to open the PCAC season, Palomar's last five conference wins have come by scores of 85-48, 74-55, 84-44, 83-48 and 80-38.

Tessa Balcom (13 points), Jessica Scott (13), Keisha Cox (10) and Ashleigh Barnes (10) led the Comets' balanced attack by scoring in double figures. Melissa Allen and Mikaela Shannon each added 8 points. Palomar led 42-18 at the half.

Conference honors Comets' Allen as AOTW

SAN DIEGO (1-26-2015) -- Palomar basketball player Melissa Allen (right) has been selected as Women's Athlete of the Week by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

Allen, a 5-foot-6 freshman guard from Mission Hills High School, has been a key factor at both ends of the court as the Palomar women's team has gone 7-2 on the season and 6-0 to lead the PCAC and are ranked No. 6 in the state in the California Community College Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll.

The Comets are tied for No. 2 in Southern California.

In last week's games, Allen scored 12 points in the Comets' 84-44 victory over Grossmont and contributed 9 points and 11 rebounds in their 83-48 win over North County rival MiraCosta.

ABOVE: Palomar coach Leigh Marshall talks to her team during timeout Friday night in the Comets' 83-48 win at rival MiraCosta. BELOW: Jessica Scott, who had 15 points and 8 rebounds, outjumps MiraCosta's Erica Windham at the opening tip-off. -- Photos by Stephen Davis. BELOW RIGHT: Ashley Barnes, who contributed 12 points and 9 rebounds

Comets roll up CA 78 rivals with big 2nd half

OCEANSIDE (1-23-2015) -- California Highway 78 rival MiraCosta kept it close for a while Friday night. But first-place and state No. 6-ranked Palomar blew the Spartans out in the second half to take home an 83-48 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball victory on the road.

On a night that Brogan Griffin scored 27 of MiraCosta's 48 points, the Comets (17-2, 6-0 in conference) pounded the upset-minded Spartans (4-12, 2-4) with another team effort.

Jessica Scott led Palomar with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Ashley Barnes had 12 points and 9 rebounds. Keisha Cox contributed 12 points and 8 assists. Tessa Balcom scored 12 points. Melissa Allen had 9 points and 11 rebounds. And Lee Lee Tomlinson chipped in with 6 assists and 4 steals.

"They kept it close for most of the first half," Palomar coach Leigh Marshall said. "You have to give credit to them for being able to slow the game down. In the second half, we were able to speed up the tempo, pick the pace up and play more our style."

And win by 45 points in the process.

The Comets edged their lead out to 14 points at halftime at 35-21 before blitzing the Spartans 48-27 in the second half.

Ashley Barnes (20) and Tessa Balcom (background) are active in Palomar's pressing defense in Wednesday's 84-44 rout of visiting Grossmont. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Palomar runs 3rd-place Griffs into the ground

SAN MARCOS (1-21-2015) -- Palomar's transition offense and smothering pressing defense turned Wednesday night's matchup with visiting Grossmont into a major blow-out as the state No. 6-ranked Comets rolled to an 84-44 Pacific Coast Conference victory.

Keisha Cox (19 points, 11 in the second half) and Lynnzy Troxell (18 points off the bench) led five Palomar players in double figures as the Comets throttled the third-place Griffins to remain alone atop the conference with a 5-0 record.

Melissa Allen (12 points, Tessa Balcom (10) and Ashleigh Barnes (10) also scored in double figures. Lee Lee Tomlinson was the next high scorer with 7 points.

Palomar, which is 16-2 overall, led 43-32 at halftime, then blew the visitors out of The Dome in the second half.

"Keisha (Cox) led us offensively and did a great job on the boards," coach Leigh Marshall said. "Lynnzy (Troxell) did a great job off the bench. She brought a lot of energy onto the floor. And Melissa Allen is our steady leader right now.

"In these past two days of practice, we've been sluggish and stagnant, and I think we came out in the first half that way. I was really happy with our energy and fire kn the second half, when we stopped fouling and causing too many dead-ball situations. For us to be successful we have to keep the clock running, get up and down the floor and turn our defense into offense. We did that in the second half."

Added Marshall: "Now we just have to transition that to practice tomorrow (Thursday) and into our game Friday."

The Comets visit rival MiraCosta on Friday at 5 p.m.

Cox leads PC past City with 16 pts., 14 boards

SAN DIEGO (1-16-2015) -- Keisha Cox's 16 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals were too much for San Diego City College to handle Friday night as Palomar advanced to 4-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with a 74-55 women's basketball victory at Harry West Gymnasium.

The Comets (15-2 overall) took over undisputed first place in the conference as Mt. San Jacinto handed Grossmont its first conference loss 57-49. The Eagles and Griffins are tied for second with 3-1 PCAC marks.

Tessa Balcom (left) and Cox (right) combined for 21 first-half points as Palomar led 36-25 at intermission. Balcom had 11 points points in the opening half. Cox scored 10 points.

Balcom (15 points, 4 steals), Lee Lee Tomlinson (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) and Melissa Allen (10 points, 7 rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Comets in the game. Nyaduop Lam scored 16 to lead City College.

ABOVE: Palomar's Daijon Sumpter takes the ball downcourt to score as the clock winds down in the final minute. Ashley Barnes (20) trails the play. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Jessica Scott, who led the Comets with 15 points. BELOW RIGHT: Barnes, who had 12 points for the winners

Palomar rolls to 50-point win, goes 14-2, 3-0

SAN MARCOS (1-14-2015) -- The Palomar women's basketball team jumped out to a 42-12 lead with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the first half and continued on to an 88-38 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference victory over Imperial Valley on Wednesday night at The Dome.

The Comets put all 12 players they had in uniform in the scoring column as coach Leigh Marshall shuffled them in and out of the game.

Jessica Scott (15 points) and Ashleigh Barnes (12 points) scored in double figures as Palomar advanced to 14-2 on the season and 3-0 in the PCAC. Keisha Cox, Lee Lee Tomlinson and Promyse Reed each had 9 points.

Ana Rodriguez scored 11 points for Imperial Valley (1-12, 0-3).

The Comets jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the game's first 2 minutes and 32 seconds on a 3-pointer by Tessa Balcom, Cox's basket, two free throws by Balcom and a bucket by Melissa Allen. They and never looked back.

Palomar was up 54-21 at the half.

The Comets are tied for first place with Grossmont, a 75-62 winner over Southwestern on Wednesday night.

Jessica Scott, Palomar's second-leading scorer with 15 points, heads to the bucket for an uncontested layup early in Friday night's game. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Cox's 30 points help Palomar maul Mt. San Jac

SAN MARCOS (1-09-2015) -- In a battle of the two co-favorites in the Pacific Coast Conference, Palomar's women's basketball team trampled visiting Mt. San Jacinto 80-68 on Friday night at The Dome.

Keisha Cox led the way for the Comets (13-2, 2-0 in conference) with a 30-point outburst. She scored 16 of those points in sparking Palomar to a 47-31 lead at the half.

Jessica Scott (15 points), Melissa Allen (12 points) and Chelse Ayala (10 points) also scored in double figures for coach Leigh Marshall's club.

The Eagles, who saw their record dip to 13-4 on the season, 1-1 in conference, were led by Johnette Brown's 16 points.

TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Keisha Cox dribbles upcourt in Wednesday's win over Southwestern. -- Photo by Russell Scoffin. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Melissa Allen defends against the Jaguars' Anessa Wolfblack. -- Photo by Stephen Davis

Comets begin PCAC with win over Jaguars

SAN DIEGO (1-07-2015) -- Palomar tipped off its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball season on Wednesday evening with a 76-68 road victory over Southwestern.

Melissa Allen stepped up big for the Comets (12-2, 1-0) with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.

"(Allen) was huge for us," coach Leigh Marshall said.

Tessa Balcom scored 11 points, most of them in crucial situations.

"Mikaela Shannon came off the bench, played hard and sparked us," Marshall said. "She was very solid on defense and also contributed with 5 points and 3 rebounds."

Keisha Cox, the Comets' leading season scorer, overcame turnover problems to contribute 16 points including a 7-for-9 night at the free throw line, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks.

Palomar plays its home conference opener on Friday at 6 p.m. at The Dome vs. Mt. San Jacinto.

ABOVE: Palomar's Jessica Scott (52)  reaches for the ball in Saturday's game as Long Beach City College's Jakerra Waddell grabs her arm. -- Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW LEFT: Darshana Taafua, who led the Vikings to a 79-77 upset win with 17 points, 13 rebounds and a dominant performance on defense. BELOW RIGHT: Keisha Cox, who led the Comets with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 steals

PC shoots 17 percent in 1st half, upset by LBCC

Darshana TaafuaLONG BEACH (1-03-2015) -- The Palomar women's basketball team shot a frigid 17 percent from the field in the first half and was upset by Long Beach City College 79-77 on Saturday in its final tuneup for the start of Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play on Wednesday.

"We got outworked and outhustled and out rebounded by 13. We fought back in the second half but it was too little, too late," Palomar coach Leigh Marshall said after the Comets saw their record dip to 11-2. Long Beach is 9-5.

"Their No. 44 in the post (6-foot-2 Darshana Taafua) ate us up," Marshall added. "She had 17 points and 13 rebounds and contested a lot of shots inside. She's one of the best players I've seen all season."

The Vikings led 28-17 at halftime. The Comets came back to outscore them 39-33 in the second half but it wasn't enough.

Long Beach outrebounded Palomar 53-40.

For the Comets, Keisha Cox led with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 steals. Tessa Balcom (13 points) and Lynnzy Troxell (10 points) also scored in double figures.

ABOVE: Palomar's women's team is all smiles after blowing out Irvine Valley for the championship of the Erin Tomlinson Coast Christmas Classic. BELOW LEFT: Tourney MVP Keisha Cox gets a jump shot away over Canyons' Erika Mercado. -- Photos by Russell Scoffin. BELOW RIGHT: Jessica Scott, who played a major role in all three of the Comets' wins in the tournament

Comets roll in championship game; Cox MVP

COSTA MESA (12-20-2014) -- Leading 27-20 at halftime, Palomar came out in the second half Saturday night and rocked Irvine Valley's world as the Comets won going away 74-55 in the championship game of the 23rd Erin Tomlinson Coast Christmas Classic at Orange Coast College.

Keisha Cox led the Comets (11-1) past the Lasers (11-2) with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists and received tournament MVP honors. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Palomar teammates Jessica Scott and Tessa Balcom.

"It was a geat team win against a very good Irvine Valley team," coach Leigh Marshall said. "We had a tough time scoring in the first half, but we were able to create offense from our defense in the second half."

Melissa Allen (14 points off the bench) and Scott (13 points, 9 rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Comets, who defeated Saddleback and College of the Canyons to reach the championship game. Chelse Ayala went 6-for-6 from the free throw line and finished with eight points. Balcom, the star of the Canyons game, added seven points.

"We had a lot of contributors tonight," Marshall said.

Palomar will be idle until Jan. 3, when the Comets visit Long Beach City College in their final non-conference game before opening their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference season on Jan. 7 at Southwestern.

ABOVE: Tessa Balcom takes the ball in to score early in Friday's 89-82 win over College of the Canyons, putting Palomar in front 4-0. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: The Comets' Tatliano Navarro penetrates as the Cougars' Jennifer Franco (24) lands awkwardly behind her. -- Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW RIGHT: Chelse Ayala, one of the players that sparked Palomar off the bench

Balcom comes up big as PC reaches title game

COSTA MESA (12-19-2014) -- Tessa Balcom came up big as Palomar defeated College of the Canyons 89-82 on Friday night to reach the championship game of the 23rd Annual Erin Tomlinson Coast Christmas Classic.

The Comets (10-1) and Irvine Valley (11-1), which defeated tourney host Orange Coast 61-38, will play for the tournament title Saturday at  Peterson Gymnasium at 5 p.m.

Balcom "stepped up huge" for Palomar at both ends of the court, coach Leigh Marshall said. The 5-foot-5 sophomore guard out of Ramona High School scored 20 points, second-high to teammate Keisha Cox's 21 points, and also made major contributions both defending and handling the ball. Balcom passed off for four assists.

Jessica Scott had another big game for the Comets with 15 points and four rebounds. Chelse Ayala (right, 14 points, four assists) and Lynnzy Troxell (10 points, seven rebounds) turned in strong performances off the bench.

Cox fouled out with eight minutes left in the second half but her teammates picked the Comets up.

Palomar led at halftime 48-33. The Cougars cut the margin to three points with 12 minutes remaining in the second half, but Troxell played a big role down the stretch when she scored six straight points.

ABOVE: Keisha Cox drives to the bucket to score with just under a minute to play as she all but ends Saddleback's hopes of winning Thursday's opener in Orange Coast's 23rd Annual Erin Tomlinson Coast Christmas Classic. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Jessica Scott, who combined with Scott to score 66 points.

Cox lifts Comets past Gauchos with 35 points

COSTA MESA (12-18-2014) -- Keisha Cox narrowly missed a triple-double with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists on Thursday as she led the Palomar women's basketball team to what coach Leigh Marshall described as an "ugly" win over Saddleback 84-78.

The Comets won for the ninth time in 10 games in the opening round of the 23rd Annual Erin Tomlinson Coast Christmas Classic at Orange Coast's Peterson Gymnasium and will play College of the Canyons in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m.

"Keisha and Jessica Scott carried us in a game in which our defense was sloppy," Marshall said. "It was ugly, and we were fouling everywhere and sent them to the line for 29 free throws. But it's good for us to get an ugly win."

Scott cointributed 21 points and 7 rebounds for Palomar. Lynnzy Troxell had 10 points in just 15 minutes. Cox also had 2 steals.

Comets move up to No. 3 in state rankings

SACRAMENTO (12-09-2014) -- Palomar has moved up a spot to No. 3 in the California Community College Women's Basketball Coaches Association state rankings.

Mt. SAC (11-0) is ranked No. 1 in the state. The Mounties are followed in the Top Ten by No. 2 College of the Sequoias (11-2), the Comets (8-1), No. 4 El Camino (6-1), No. 5 Irvine Valley (6-1), No. 6 Cypress (8-2), No. 7 Fullerton (7-1), No. 8 East Los Angeles (8-1), No. 9 Sierra (9-3) and No. 10 Pasadena City College (4-1).

Mt. San Jacinto (7-2) is the only other Pacific Coast Athletic Conference team in the Top 20. The Eagles are ranked No. 12.

Palomar, under coach Leigh Marshall (left, photo by Hugh Cox) is ranked No 2 in Southern California behind Mt. SAC.

ABOVE: Members of the Palomar women's basketball team are all smiles after 99-60 over West Los Angeles in the third-place game at the Charger Classic at Cypress College. -- Courtesy photo. BELOW: Lee Lee Tomlinson, who held West L.A.'s Zhane Carter, the leading community college scorer in the state, to 14 points, less than half her average of 29 points.

Palomar bounces back to win by 36 points

CYPRESS (12-7-2014) -- Lee Lee Tomlinson held Zhane Carter, the state community college scoring leader, to less than half her average with 14 points and Palomar's women's basketball squad bounced back from its first loss of the season by routing West Los Angeles 99-60 on Sunday afternoon.

The victory came in the third-place game of the 31st Charger Classic at Cypress College and advanced the state No. 4-ranked Comets to 8-1 on the season.

"Lee Lee did a great job defending (Carter)," coach Leigh Marshall said. Carter came into the game with a 29-point average.

Palomar, which was upset by tournament host Cypress 83-74 in the semifinals on Saturday night, led 44-31 at halftime, then blew out West L.A. in the second half 55-29.

The Comets put five players in double figures -- Tessa Balcom with 22 points, Melissa Allen (18 points), Lynnzy Troxell (18 points), all-tournament selection Keisha Cox (13 points) and Jessica Scott (10 points). Balcom drained 6-of-9 attempts from behind the 3-point arc.

Palomar outrebounded the Wildcats (formerly the "Oilers") 63-42, led by Troxell with 13 rebounds, Cox with 9, Balcom and Aliah Marshall with 7 each, Allen with 6 and Scott and Tatiana Navarro with 5 each. Cox dished off 11 assists.

The Comets shot 45.9 percent from the field and 43.5 percent on 3-points, making 10-of-23.

Comets' rally falls short as they take first loss

CYPRESS (12-06-2014) -- Palomar, the state's No. 4-ranked women's basketball team, rallied from a 27-point deficit with 16:40 left in the game to close to within 4 points with 4 minutes to play Saturday night. But the Comets fell short and were upset by No. 8-ranked Cypress 83-74.

The Comets, after losing for the first time in the 2014-15 season in a semifinal game at the 31st Charger Classic against the host team, are 7-1 going into Sunday's 1 p.m. third-place game against West Los Angeles. Cypress is 7-2.

"We got outworked and outhustled in the first half," coach Leigh Marshall said. "We played much better in the second half but couldn't pull ourselves out of the hole."

The Comets trailed at the half 49-25.

Keisha Cox (left, 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals) and Melissa Allen (right, 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals) led the Comets.

 Palomar's Lynnzy Toxell had 9 points and 8 rebounds. Jessica Scott contributed 8 points and 8 rebounds.Titiana Navarro also scored 8 points.

Jeana Magana led Cypress to the victory witn 31 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

State No. 4-ranked Palomar remains unbeaten

CYPRESS (12-5-2014) --State No. 4-ranked Palomar turned back Santa Monica 69-63 in the late game Friday night at the 31st Charger Classic at Cypress College, remaining unbeaten on the season at 7-0.

Coach Leigh Marshall's Comets will play tournament host Cypress, the state's No. 8-ranked team, in the semifinals on Saturday at 7 p.m. The winner faces either Orange Coast, a 75-67 winner over Grossmont, or West Los Angeles, a 102-94 winner over East Los Angeles, for the tournament championship on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Melissa Allen (left, 20 points), Keisha Cox (16 points) and Jessica Scott (right, 12 points) led the Comets past the Corsairs. Cox also had 16 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Scott completed a double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds. Allen also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and  steals.

Tessa Balcom led Palomar in assists with 4.

The Comets took a 34-32 lead at the half, then drew away in the last 20 minutes.

Cox scores 27 as Palomar advances to 6-0

SAN MARCOS (11-22-1014) -- Keisha Cox (left) scored 27 points and Palomar's women's basketball team won for the second night in a row at home on Saturday, defeating visiting Los Angeles Valley 77-57.

Melissa Allen tallied 14 points and Lynnzy Troxll added 12 points as the Comets remained unbeaten on the season at 6-0.

The Monarchs fell to 1-1.

Coach Leigh Marshall's Palomar squad will play its next eight games on the road, beginning Dec. 5-6-7 in the 31 st Cypress College Lady Charger Classic.

TOP PHOTO: Andrea Hollins controls the ball in Palomar's 50-point win over a Rio Hondo team that came into Friday's game with a 4-1 record. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Just after this picture was taken, Aliah Marshall was tripped trying to take this ball to the basket and made both free throws. BELOW: Keisha Cox elevates above the crowd on this jump shot in the first half. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

'40 Minutes of Hell' is just that for Rio Hondo

SAN MARCOS (11-21-2014) -- The running, pressing 2014-15 Palomar women's basketball team's hectic style of play is described as "40 Minutes of Hell" for opponents. Visiting Rio Hondo found out why on Friday night as the Comets won their home opener 83-33 at The Dome.

Getting one steal, breakaway after another, followed by series of quick passes and both uncontested and contested layups, the Comets (5-0) raced to a 47-15 halftime lead and kept the pace up the entire evening. Along the way, coach Leigh Marshall continued sending waves of fresh troops onto the floor.

Keisha Cox (left, photo by Hugh Cox), coming in and out of the game, scored a game-high 18 points to lead 11 Palomar players in the scoring column before exiting for good after she made two free throws with 16:14 remaining and the Comets leading the Roadrunners 62-22.

Cox scored 13 of Palomar's 15 points in the first 3 minutes, 46 seconds of the second half. She got most of her points during the evening off the Comets' transition game following rebounds, steals and forced Rio Hondo mistakes.

Cox drained two 3-pointers during the above 15-point run. Jessica Scott, Chelse Ayala and Zlee Lee Tomlinson also canned 3-point baskets.

Lynnzy Troxell (14 points) and Scott (13 points) joined Cox in double figures for the Comets as Palomar spread the wealth in the scoring column.

Scott scored 11 points and Troxell 10 in the first half, when Cox and Chelse Ayala each tallied five points.

Players coming off the bench for Palomar combined for 38 points. 

This was all against a Rio Hondo team that came into the game with a 4-1 record, including wins over Reedley, Taft, Hancock and 72-49 over College of the Desert last Saturday. The Roadrunners' only loss prior to Thursday was by six points to Los Angeles Harbor.

TOP PHOTO: The Comets ham it up with the San Jacinto Lions Club Lady Eagle Tipoff Tournament championship trophy. DIRECTLY ABOVE: All-tournament selections Melissa Allen (left), Lynnzy Troxell (middle) and tourney MVP Keisha Cox (right) -- Courtesy photos

Cox leads PC to title with 34 points, 10 boards

SAN JACINTO (11-16-2014) -- Keisha Cox, named the tournament MVP, powered Palomar to an 80-67 victory Sunday afternoon over previously unbeaten Mt. San Jacinto in the championship game of the San Jacinto Lions Club Lady Eagle Tipoff Tournament.

Cox led the way for the Comets (4-0) with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

Melissa Allen (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists vs. the Eagles) and Lynnzy Troxell (8 points, 10 rebounds) also were named to the all-tournament team. Aliah Marshall had 9 points for Palomar.

Comets go to 3-0, to play for tournament title

SAN JACINTO (11-15-2014) -- The Palomar women's basketball team defeated Antelope Valley 75-72 in the semifinals on Saturday and will play host Mt. San Jacinto for the championship of the San Jacinto Lions Club Lady Eagle Tipoff Tournament on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Aliah Marshall (left) scored 17 points to lead the Comets against the Marauders. Melissa Allen had 16 points and eight rebounds, six on the offensive board. Ashleigh Barnes had nine points, and Keisha Cox contributed eight points and six assists before fouling out.

Antelope Valley, which put four players in double figures, battled back from a 42-31 halftime deficit to make it close in the second half.

Coach Leigh Marshall's Comets are 3-0 on the season. Mt. San Jacinto comes into Sunday's championship game at 2-0 after defeating Barstow 70-47 in the other semifinal game.

Palomar rolls to second straight blowout win

SAN JACINTO (11-14-2014) -- The Palomar women's basketball team, which won its season opener by 52 points a week ago against Santa Ana, made it two straight blowout wins on Friday. The Comets buried Chaffey 88-54 to open the San Jacinto Lions Club Lady Eagle Tipoff Tournament at Mt. San Jacinto College.

The Comets fell behind 8-0 to open the game, then blew the Panthers out of the water behind the play of Keisha Cox (left, 15 points), Melissa Allen (right, 15 points, 7 steals), Allah Marshall (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Tessa Balcom (10 points).

Aliah Marshall had seven rebounds and Ashleigh Barnes had six.

"No one played more than 21 minutes, which was good, but we were sloppy as a whole. We played hard but we've got to play smarter," coach Leigh Marshall said.

Five Comets in double figures in 52-pt. win

SANTA ANA (11-06-2014) -- Keisha Cox led the way with 21 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and four steals on Thursday evening as Palomar opened its women's basketball season with a 99-47 non-conference rout of Santa Ana on the road.

Five players scored in double figures for coach Leigh Marshall's Comets. Joining Cox were Melissa Allen with 17 points, Lynnzy Troxell with 16, and Ashley Barnes and Jessica Scott with 13 points each.

Troxell pulled down nine rebounds and also had five steals. 

Palomar opened up a 46-29 halftime lead, then hammered Santa Ana in the second half 53-18 as the Comets avenged an overtime loss to the Dons at the beginning of last season at The Dome.

Defensively, the Comets held Santa Ana to an 8.3 3-point percentage (1-for-12) and to an overall 20.9 shooting percentage (9-for-43).

Palomar outscored Santa Ana from the field 88 points to 19, and only the Dons' 28-for-47 night from the free throw line prevented the blowout from being even worse. That, and the fact Marshall cleared her bench early. Allen (23 minutes out of 40), Cox (22 minutes) and Scott (22 minutes) all played barely half the game.

Cox was 9-for-13 on field goal attempts.

PICTURED ABOVE: Keisha Cox scores early in the second half, giving Palomar a 57-29 lead. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

 

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