CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College women's basketball team (12-7, 4-1 OEC) lost an Orange Empire Conference battle with Irvine Valley College (16-3, 5-0 OEC) at home on Wednesday night, 68-74. The loss ends Cypress' impressive 20-game conference home winning streak.
The Chargers and the Lasers entered the game as the only unbeaten teams remaining in the OEC. Cypress entered the match-up ranked No. 13 in Southern California, while IVC entered the game with a No. 4 ranking in Southern California and a No. 9 state ranking.
Two of the conference's top players put on a show in front of a packed Gym II crowd. Vivian Lara led the Chargers with a career-high 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting. Lara added 8 rebounds and 5 assists on the night. Kasey Smit finished with a double-double to lead the Lasers. Smit poured in a game-high 34 points and 15 rebounds, while shooting a lights out 14-of-18 from the field.
IVC came out firing in the first quarter, as Smit got it going early with 12 points in the opening frame. However, the Chargers clamped down defensively in the second quarter, holding the Lasers to only six points, to take a 28-27 halftime lead.
The Lasers battled back in the third quarter to regain a 4-point lead heading into the fourth. IVC began the final quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 62-46 lead with five minutes remaining. The Chargers would not go out without a fight, answering with a 12-4 run of their own, highlighted by back-to-back threes from Tawni Atencio and Vivian Lara, cutting the deficit back to four. However, the Chargers were unable to get over the hump as the Lasers knocked down their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The Lady Chargers will look to bounce back at home on Friday night when the Saddleback Gauchos come to town. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm in Gym II.
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