Mission Viejo – The 16th-ranked Cypress women's basketball team (13-5, 1-0 OEC) opened up Orange Empire Conference play in dramatic fashion on Wednesday evening, as the Chargers overcame a double-digit second half deficit to defeat Saddleback (9-9, 0-1 OEC) in overtime, 72-68.
At the halftime break, Cypress held a slim 29-28 lead, but Saddleback came out firing in the second and led by 15 with 10 minutes to play. The Chargers got the ball to sophomore Lauren Hong, who scored 14 of her season-high 27 points in the final seven minutes of regulation to help Cypress tie the game and send it to overtime (63-63).
In overtime and with the game tied at 68 all, sophomore Jeana Magaña nailed a three-pointer to give Cypress a 71-68 lead with 51 seconds left in the period. Hong's made free throw with 14 seconds to play sealed the win as the Chargers won 72-68.
Sophomore Haley Gorman led the team with a season-high 13 rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double as she chipped in nine points. Vivian Lara was the No. 2 scorer for the Chargers with 10. Hong, Magaña and Lara each added six rebounds in the game as well.
The Chargers return home on Friday, Jan. 9 to host Riverside (12-5, 1-0 OEC), who defeated Fullerton 55-54 in its conference opener. The women will tip-off at 5:00 pm, with the men to follow at 7:00 pm.