By Wes McCurtis
CYPRESS, CA – The No. 5-seed Palomar Comets upset the No. 4-seed Cypress Chargers in the CCCAA Southern California Regional Final. Despite pouring in 92 points, the revered Chargers defense gave up a season-high 104 points to the Comets, including 17 made 3-pointers. Both teams have relied on an up-and-down style of play and pressure defense to wreak havoc on their opponents all season. Those similar styles clashed in front of a packed Gym II at Cypress College on Saturday night.
Sophomore guard Alyssa Movchan led the way for the Chargers with 21 points and 5 assists. Sophomore center Joi Bertrand finished with a season-high 20 points and sophomore forward Monique Mesa recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Palomar's Ariana Hernandez finished with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including a 7-of-14 performance from beyond the arc. Kendall Crosby shot a lights out 7-of-12 from 3-point range on her way to 21 points.
The Comets took control early with a 7-0 run to start the game. Palomar shot a blistering 6-of-7 from downtown in the first quarter. Trailing by as many as 12 points in the opening frame, the Chargers battled back to cut the deficit to 7 heading into the second quarter. Cypress bounced back in the second quarter, outscoring the Comets 30-21 to take a 49-47 lead at halftime.
Palomar continued their hot shooting in the second half. The Comets sped past the Chargers' full court pressure to get open looks in transition, as they knocked down 7 more 3-pointers in the quarter. Cypress' points were coming in the paint as they found themselves trailing 76-72 heading into the fourth. Palomar's Christina Ellis owned the fourth quarter. Ellis put the game away with 14 points and 8 clutch free-throws to advance the Comets to the CCCAA State Championship Tournament.
Despite a dissapointing loss, the Cypress College women's basketball program has added another successful season to its storied history. The 2016-17 Lady Chargers end the year as back-to-back Orange Empire Conference Champions with a 24-7 overall record.
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