Irvine Valley turned what looked like me a close game against Riverside into an easy win Wednesday night at home.
The Lasers used big runs in the second and third quarters to pull away for a 73-54 Orange Empire Conference victory.
Irvine Valley, which is ranked No. 7 in the state, improved its record to 16-2 overall and 4-0 in conference. Riverside's record slipped to 10-8 overall and 2-3 in conference.
IVC led, 18-16, after the first quarter, but Riverside scored the first six points of the second quarter and took a 24-18 lead on a layup by Asia Anderson with 8:05 to play.
But the Lasers out-scored Riverside 24-6 the rest of the quarter.
Freshman point guard Morgan Higgins did much of the damage for IVC.
She hit four three-pointers and converted a three-point play over the final 8:05 of the quarter.
Higgins ended up with 15 points in the quarter, going 4 of 7 from three-point range.
Her fourth and final three-pointer of the quarter with seven seconds left gave Irvine Valley a 42-30 lead heading into the break.
But Riverside didn't go away. The Tigers scored the first seven points of the third quarter and pulled to within 42-37 on a jumper by Vanessa Vargas with 7:05 remaining in the quarter.
IVC went on another run, however.
The Lasers scored 10 points in a row.
A three-pointer by freshman guard Samantha Uehara put the team in front, 52-37, with 5:36 left.
IVC led, 62-44, at the end of the third quarter and the Lasers were up by as many as 28 points in the fourth.
Neither team shot great from the field with Riverside finishing at 32.4 percent (23 of 71) and IVC at 35.4 percent (28 of 79).
A big difference was turnovers where Riverside had 22 and IVC finished with just nine. The Lasers out-scored the Tigers in points off turnovers, 21-4.
The Lasers also had a 10-point advantage (42-32) on points in the paint.
Three players scored 18 points for the Lasers. Sophomore post player Zoe Stachowski finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Higgins added 18 points before sitting out most of the fourth quarter.
Riverside was paced by Trinity Vasquez, who finished with 15 points, and Asia Anderson, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Irvine Valley plays again on Friday in a battle of the top two teams in conference. The Lasers travel to Cypress for a 5 p.m. conference match-up.