FRESNO -- It was an all-too-familiar scene for the Fresno City College and Merced women's basketball teams.
The teams met twice in the Central Valley Conference this season, with the Rams winning both first by 33 points and then 11.
Still, heading into Wednesday's Northern California Regional playoff, Fresno City coach Brian Tessler believed his team had reason to be wary of the Blue Devils.
In the Rams' past four games against Merced, the Blue Devils actually had led at halftime.
Tessler's fears, however, were quickly eased as his team jumped to a 22-point first-half lead en route to a 79-60 win to reach Saturday's fourth-round game against No. 3 Sierra.
"We got caught playing at their pace," MC head coach Allen Huddleston said. "We didn't do a good job at controlling the tempo. We wanted to spread the court, pick our spots and control the tempo.
"I thought they bothered our guards and we never settled down, but Fresno City played hard and tough. They're the No. 2 seed for a reason."
It looked easy for Tessler and his Rams (29-3) in part because of Madison Parrish's strong first-half play.
The Hanford High product -- headed next year to play for University of the Pacific -- scored 19 of her 34 points and had three steals and three assists in the first half.
In the second half, the Lady Devils (19-11) got within 11 points before Parrish answered with four straight as the Rams built the lead to 63-49.
"We played really well," said Parrish. "I felt that we really jelled today and played great on defense and forced some turnovers."
Sonji Green had a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Devils.
Jasmin Barnett finished with 14 points and Rogenee Russell chipped in eight in the loss.