Irvine Valley's women's basketball team used a dominant third quarter to pull away from Santa Ana and capture a 77-59 Orange Empire Conference victory at home Tuesday night.
The victory moved the Lasers to within a win of earning at least a share of the conference title.
Irvine Valley, ranked No. 5 in the state, improved its record to 21-2 overall and 9-0 in conference.
The did so thanks to a dominating performance by sophomore guard Anai Washington, who finished with 32 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Santa Ana, which played IVC tough most of the night, fell to 11-14 overall and 5-6 in conference.
The Dons scored eight of the first 10 points of the game. A jumper by Nyla Bivens gave Santa Ana a 8-2 lead.
Irvine Valley responded by scoring the next 11 points to take the lead for good.
Freshman guard Morgan Higgins capped the 11-0 run with two free throws.
IVC led, 16-10, at the end of the first quarter and was ahead, 36-27, at the half.
It was the third quarter that was the difference. Irvine Valley out-scored Santa Ana, 24-10, in the period.
The Lasers started the quarter on a 8-2 run and never looked back. A layup by Washington made it a 44-29 game with 5:28 left in the quarter.
Washington finished with 13 points of her game-high 32 points in the quarter. She was 4 of 4 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free throw line.
Irvine Valley cruised from there. The Lasers led by as many as 28 points midway through the fourth quarter before winning by 18.
Sophomore forward Zoe Stachowski finished 11 points and eight rebounds for IVC. Higgins chipped in nine points and five steals and freshman guard Samantha Uehara hustled all over and added 10 rebounds.
Santa Ana's Charyl Caldera had 13 points and Bivens ended with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Irvine Valley plays again on Thursday at Riverside at 5 p.m.