Women's Basketball

Women's basketball team wins playoff opener over Cerritos

Courtesy of Toni Lavacot
Courtesy of Toni Lavacot

A series of close wins over the last month surely helped the Irvine Valley women's basketball team in its Southern California Regional Playoff second round game on Friday night at home.

The Lasers earned a 58-48 victory over Cerritos after out-scoring the Falcons, 18-6, to close out the contest.

IVC, seeded third, improved its record to 26-3 overall. Cerritos, which was the 14th seed, finished its year at 18-13.

It was Irvine Valley's 14th straight win.

Irvine Valley moves on to the third round next Wednesday at home where it will host either No. 6 Bakersfield or No. 11 Mt. San Jacinto. Those two squads meet up Saturday night.

Irvine Valley won three of its games in Orange Empire Conference play in overtime, came back from double digits down in the second half to top Cypress on the road in another contest and also had to rally late to beat Santa Ana by four points in the final week of the regular season.

Cerritos took a 42-40 lead on a basket by Aissha Baldwin with 13:33 left to play in Friday's playoff battle.

But the Lasers tied the game on their next possession, getting a basket from freshman forward Morgan Bryant off an assist from sophomore forward Conerie Brennan.

Then Brennan made a three-pointer with 12:24 to play off a pass from sophomore guard Karli Kato to give Irvine Valley a 45-42 lead.

IVC never trailed again.

Baldwin made a layup on the other end for Cerritos to make it a 45-44 game with just over 12 minutes left, but the Falcons only scored four points the rest of the way.

A 5-0 run highlighted by a three-pointer by freshman guard Jordan Coleman and a jumper by freshman guard Erika Mercado pushed Irvine Valley's lead to six points with under seven minutes to play.

Irvine Valley later stretched its lead to 53-46 on a layup by Bryant with 2:56 left and Turner put IVC up by nine points at 55-46 with 2:07 to go.

Turner led Irvine Valley with 12 points and 12 rebounds. She grabbed seven of those rebounds in the second half.

Freshman guard Tara Casey added 10 points, Kato had nine points on three three-pointers, Mercado finished with eight points and Coleman had seven points, four assists and three steals for IVC.

Irvine Valley shot 42.2 percent (19 of 45) from the field in the contest and helped hold Cerritos to 32.2 percent (19 of 59). The Lasers were even better from three-point range, making 8 of 17 attempts.

Irvine Valley made eight three-pointers to four for Cerritos and also out-scored the Falcons, 8-4, at the free throw line.

Cerritos was paced by Baldwin, who had 19 points and six rebounds and Selena Romero, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Clarissa Hernandez added six points, five assists and two steals for the Falcons.

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