Women's Basketball

Women's basketball team wins big at rival Saddleback

Courtesy of Toni Lavacot
Courtesy of Toni Lavacot

Irvine Valley's women's basketball team won its second straight game to open Orange Empire Conference play and did so easily.

The Lasers won at district rival Saddleback, 56-37, on Wednesday night.

Irvine Valley, ranked sixth in the state and fourth in Southern California, improved its record to 15-3 overall.

The Lasers trailed, 11-10, early on, but then used a 14-0 run to take control.

IVC was ahead, 31-20, at the half and grew its lead throughout the second half.

Up, 37-25, the Lasers scored six in a row on a jumper by freshman guard Erika Mercado, a lay-up by freshman guard Tara Casey and then a basket by sophomore forward Conerie Brennan to make it an 18-point lead.

Irvine Valley made it a 20-point cushion at 48-28 on one free throw by freshman forward Morgan Bryant and then a basket by Bryant with 8:57 to play.

Two free throws by Bryant with 3:12 to play gave Irvine Valley its largest lead of the game at 55-32.

Irvine Valley shot 40 percent (22 of 55) from the field for the game and helped hold Saddleback to just 24.2 percent (15 of 62) shooting.

The Lasers were out-rebounded, 48-43, but out-scored Saddleback by 16 points in the paint and by 11 on points off turnovers.

Irvine Valley's bench also out-scored the Gauchos, 29-7.

The Lasers had a balanced scoring attack with seven different players scoring at least five points.

Casey and Bryant both came off the bench to lead the way with 11 points.

Sophomore center Breanna Turner finished with eight points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes of action. Freshman guard Jordan Coleman added eight points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.

And Brennan ended with six points, five rebounds and two steals.

Saddleback, which saw its record fall to 10-10 overall and 1-2 in conference, was paced by Deja Brooks with 14 points and nine rebounds. But Brooks, who is the defending conference player of the year, was just 6 of 21 from the field, 0 of 5 on three-pointers and 2 of 10 from the free throw line.

Irvine Valley plays again on Friday in its first home conference game of the season. The Lasers host Riverside at 5 p.m.

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