By Wes McCurtis
CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College women's basketball team (11-6, 3-0 OEC) put on a gutty performance in Wednesday night's home victory over Riverside City College (11-6, 2-1 OEC). The Tigers, who entered the game ranked No. 14 in Southern California, could not keep pace with the No. 13 Chargers down the game's final stretch. Cypress outscored RCC 32-21 in the final frame and went on to win, 86-82.
Sophomore guard Gabrielle Carbajal finished with a game-high 29 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Carbajal netted 20 of her points in the first half and went on to add 8 rebounds and 4 assists on the night. Sophomore guard Vivian Lara helped close out the game for Cypress, pouring in 20 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Freshman Christa Evans added 15 points and 14 boards for her first double-double of the season.
The Riverside trio of Joana Adams, Dejah Wright, and Dayna Dewitt carried the Tigers' offense. Adams finished with a team-high 24 points, while Wright and Dewitt added 22 points and 18 points, respectively.
The Tigers did not shy away from the importance of this game early, jumping out to a 9-point lead with two minutes to play in the first quarter. However, the Chargers answered with a run of their own to close out the opening quarter and carried that momentum into the second quarter to take a 35-32 halftime lead.
Riverside answered early in the second half, as Adams began to heat up, knocking down 4-of-5 shots from the field to pace the Tigers with 10 points in the third quarter. Trailing 54-61 entering the final frame, Cypress turned to the play of Lara and their freshman bigs, Christa Evans and Hannah Avila-McArthur, to mount a comeback.
The Lady Chargers regained the lead with just two minutes remaining in the game. Evans completed a three-point play after absorbing the contact and finishing at the rim, before converting a free throw, to put Cypress ahead 81-80. Riverside continued to make a push but could not regain the lead as Lara put the game out of reach at the foul line.
Women's basketball will return to action on Friday when they travel to take on district rival Fullerton College at 7:00pm.
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