Every team, Peninsula coach Julie Stewart warned, is beatable on any given night, even No. 8-ranked Skagit Valley.
Unfortunately for the Peninsula's Pirates, they too are beatable.
The NWAACC North division-leading Cardinals from Skagit showed why they are highly regarded in the conference after a 77-56 victory Saturday night in Mount Vernon.
Skagit's Cardinals hit nearly half their shots and held the P.C. women to under 30-percent shooting for the evening.
Peninsula guard Krystal Tolliver had 12 points and nine rebounds while teammate Brooke Helpenstell added 11 points, but Brittany Janz and the Cardinals proved too tough on their home court.
Janz had 20 points and sank all seven free throw tries, keeping
Skagit perfect (5-0) in conference.
Peninsula, that got just six points off their bench, sank to 2-2 in conference and 7-8 overall.
The Pirates were slated to take on North Seattle on the road Jan. 19 - results were unavailable at press time. Peninsula hosts Whatcom Jan.21 and Everett on Jan. 24.
Olympic at home
If the shots don't fall, try, try again. It's a simple philosophy, one the Peninsula Pirate women used quite effectively in a 62-46 win against Olympic on Jan. 14.
Sam Flett scored 17 points while Helpenstell scored eight points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Peninsula dominated the boards, out-rebounding Olympic 53-38, including a 29-13 edge on Olympic's own backboard.
And while neither team shot particularly well from the field (Peninsula 38 percent, Olympic 25 percent), the Pirates more than made up for it in hustle, helping P.C. gain a 29-18 halftime advantage that the Rangers never threatened.
"The first half I thought we attacked, especially on defense," Stewart said.
Helpenstell, the 5-foot, 11-inch forward who was a star on Peninsula's 2006-2007 squad before taking one season off, looked strong in her third game of the 2008-2009 campaign. She hit four-of-seven from the field, dished out four assists and had seven of her 13 rebounds on the offensive glass.
"She adds a lot more depth than (just) one player," Stewart said. "She moves really well. She definitely has a mature way of handling the ball."
In her first three games back, Helpenstell is averaging 12 points and almost 10 rebounds per contest.
Tolliver added nine points and nine rebounds. Peninsula point guard Britney Yamane had five steals and three assists while post Brittany Bridges chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds.
Flett, Yamane and others had the unenviable task of guarding quick-shooting Jodi Mitchell, a 5-foot, 8-inch freshman from Australia who averaged better than 18 points per game in her past
The Peninsula defense held Mitchell to 10 points on four-of-23 shooting.
Stewart said her team still has plenty of room for improvement, considering the Pirates' 27 turnovers.
"We need to take care of the basketball better," Stewart said.
The Pirates are facing a tough stretch, playing Jan. 17, Jan. 19, Jan. 21 and Jan. 24 - four games in eight days.
"What does help us there is our depth," Stewart said.