Women's basketball team wins showdown with Cypress

Courtesy of Toni Lavacot
Courtesy of Toni Lavacot

Irvine Valley's women's basketball team rallied in a big way Wednesday night at Cypress in a showdown for first place in the Orange Empire Conference.

The Lasers, who found themselves down by 10 points, at halftime, out-scored Cypress by 17 points in the second half to come away with a 71-64 victory.

Irvine Valley, which was ranked seventh in the state and fourth in Southern California, moved into first place by itself in the conference standings.

The Lases improved their record to 17-3 overall and 4-0 in conference.

Cypress, ranked eighth in the state, fell to 15-6 overall and 3-1 in conference.

Irvine Valley found itself down by as many as 12 points in the opening half and went into the break trailing, 42-32.

But the Lasers' defense stifled Cypress in the second half.

IVC held the Chargers to just nine points in the first 14 minutes of the second half.

The Lasers used a 21-9 run and took a 53-51 lead on a three-pointer by freshman guard Erika Mercado with 6:04 left in the game.

Irvine Valley never trailed after that point.

A three-pointer by freshman guard Tara Casey put Irvine Valley ahead, 56-52, with 5:46 left.

Cypress made it a 60-58 game after two free throws by DeShields Fajardo with 3:07 remaining.

A free throw by sophomore forward Conerie Brennan and a layup by sophomore center Breanna Turner pushed Irvine Valley's lead back to 63-58 with 1:40 left.

Cypress didn't get closer than three points the rest of the way.

Freshman guard Jordan Coleman, Mercado and Casey each made a pair of free throws down the stretch to clinch the win for the Lasers.

Irvine Valley was led by Turner, who had 19 points, 17 rebounds and three steals.

Casey finished with 17 points and six rebounds. She went 5 of 6 from three-point range.

Coleman finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

The Lasers won despite finishing with 30 turnovers in the contest.

Cypress was paced by Haley Gorman, who had 21 points and nine rebounds.

Irvine Valley plays again on Friday at Santa Ana at 5 p.m.