By Wes McCurtis
CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College women's basketball team (3-5) had a strong showing in the 34th Annual Lady Charger Classic hosted by Cypress College Athletics. The Chargers finished the weekend with two wins and one loss, which earned them third place. Sophomore guards Gabrielle Carbajal and Vivian Lara were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
GAME 1 – HOME OPENER
The Lady Chargers began the tournament with a dominant 79-45 victory over Santa Monica College in Friday's home opener. Cypress, who had entered the game struggling offensively, finally got it going on the comfort of their home floor. The Chargers shot a then season-high 42.6% from the field and 43.8% from long range with five players finishing in double-figures on the night: Gabby Carbajal (22), Vivian Lara (12), Nataly Cruz (11), Teresa Torres (10), and Tawni Atencio (10).
Cypress not only outscored the Corsairs in every quarter, but they also got it done on the defensive end. The Chargers' relentless effort defensively forced Santa Monica into 21 turnovers, while holding them to just 18% from three-point range.
GAME 2 – SEMI-FINAL
Undefeated Palomar College opened the tournament with a 112-50 victory over Orange Coast College and entered Saturday's semi-final as the undisputed favorite over an up and coming Cypress team. However, the Lady Chargers continued to show flashes of excellence and took Palomar down to the wire before eventually falling 72-70.
Cypress was able to keep their hot shooting going on Saturday, setting a new season-high shooting 43.3% from the field. Unlike Friday's game, Coach Mohr turned to her sophomore backcourt to carry the scoring load. Carbajal led the way with 23 points and 5 boards. Lara had a complete game, adding 20 points, 5 steals, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Freshman center Hannah Avila-McArthur finished with her first career double-double, netting 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Cypress entered the fourth quarter trailing 64-52 before outscoring Palomar 18-8 in the final frame. The Comets fought off a Charger comeback by knocking down big free throws in the final minute of the game. Palomar advanced to the championship game where they defeated East LA 85-78 (OT).
GAME 3 – 3RD PLACE
The Chargers found a way to bounce back on Sunday against Citrus College in 3rd place game. Despite shooting just 29% from the field and 13% from beyond the arc, they were able to secure 3rd place with a 64-61 victory over the Owls. Cypress managed to overcome their shooting woes by relentlessly attacking the basket, resulting in them hitting 28 of a season-high 35 free throws.
Lara led the way for Cypress with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Carbajal and Avila-McArthur each added 13 points. Avila-McArthur managed to notch her second double-double of the season, grabbing a season-high 18 rebounds.
Cypress and Citrus were deadlocked at 55-55 with just under five minutes remaining in the game. Sophomore guard and All-Tournament selection Vivian Lara scored the Chargers' final 9 points and forced a Citrus turnover on the Owls' final possession to seal the Charger victory.
Women's basketball will return to action in the Antelope Valley College Holiday Tournament on Friday, December 15 through Sunday, December 17. Cypress will begin tournament play at 5:00 pm on Friday against Foothill College.
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