Women's Basketball

Women's basketball team honors sophomores and claims the cup

Courtesy of Toni Lavacot
Courtesy of Toni Lavacot

Irvine Valley's women's basketball team dominated once again on its home court in Orange Empire Conference play.

The Lasers, ranked ninth in Southern California, ran their record to 6-0 in conference at home in a 65-45 win over rival Saddleback on Thursday night.

The game was part of the annual President's Cup series. IVC claimed the cup for the second straight year based on point differential after the Irvine Valley and Saddleback men's and women's teams split the total of four games during conference action.

The two women's games were the difference with IVC beating Saddleback by 21 and 20 points, respectively.

Irvine Valley's win on Thursday was its seventh straight and improved its record to 20-6 overall and 8-2 in conference. The Lasers remained in a tie for first place in the conference standings with Cypress with two games left in the regular season.

IVC plays at Riverside next Wednesday at 5 p.m. and at Santa Ana on Friday at 5 p.m.

Irvine Valley is 10-1 overall at home this season and in its six wins in conference play, is averaging beating opponents by 19.6 points per game.

The Lasers have held four of those six conference opponents to 45 points or less inside Hart Gymnasium.

Saddleback shot just 20.3 percent (12 of 59) from the field Thursday night, while IVC shot 45.3 percent (24 of 53).

The Lasers out-rebounded Saddleback, 45-36, and had 10 more assists.

Irvine Valley blew open the game early on. IVC led, 25-15, after the first quarter and out-scored Saddleback, 18-8, in the second quarter to go into the break up, 43-23.

IVC shot 57.6 percent as a team in the opening half.

The Lasers took their largest lead at 41-19 with 3:12 left in the first half after going on a 13-2 run.

Freshman guard Aaleah Brown capped the run with a layup off an assist by sophomore guard Tara Casey.

Casey was everywhere for the Lasers on Thursday. She nearly had a double-double in the first half, finishing the half with 11 points and eight rebounds. For good measure, she also had five assists and three steals in the opening 20 minutes.

Casey ended with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals in 36 minutes.

Freshman forward Kasey Smit contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and three assists.

Sophomore forward Morgan Bryant had 11 points and eight rebounds and sophomore guard Jordan Coleman added nine points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Saddleback, which saw its record fall to 9-19 overall and 2-8 in conference, was led by Kara Ito, who had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. RaShawna Williams finished with 11 points and Teoncea Bennett had eight points and four steals.

Thursday was also sophomore night for Irvine Valley. De'Jerre Scurry, Erika Mercado, Patricia Tidwell-McClure, Bryant, Casey and Coleman were honored prior to the game by head coach Julie Hanks and staff.

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