SANTA ANA - The Dons used a big second half to open the Santa Ana College Tournament with a 99-61 victory over San Diego Mesa College. The win advances the Dons (5-3) to the winner's bracket while San Diego Mesa (2-4) will play in an elimination game.
The Dons will take on Santa Barbara City College at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow after the Vaqueros defeated Merced College 83-69. Mesa will take on Merced in the 4:00 p.m. game.
The first half remained close as the Dons took just a six-point lead into the break. Blaysen Varnadoe got off to a hot start as she scored eight of the Dons first 10 points just four minutes into the game.
In the third quarter, Mesa cut the game to just two points at 44-42 at the 7:42 mark before the Dons went on a 21-3 run to take a 20-point lead late in the quarter. The teams traded baskets late in the quarter before the Dons took a 66-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Dons hot play continued as they outscored Mesa 33-14 in the final 10 minutes on 68% shooting. Varnadoe would ultimately score a game-high 28 points while Rachel Cain added 15 points, all on three-pointers. Despite scoring 99 points, just one more Don finished in double digits with Amanda Sanchez scoring 12 points.
The tournament opened with Moorpark College defeating Bakersfield College 72-49 behind 23 points by Sydney Perry before San Bernardino Valley College rallied from a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to defeat West Hills College-Lemoore, 80-76.
Those games set up tomorrow's winner's bracket matchup between Moorpark and San Bernardino Valley College at 6:00 p.m. while Bakersfield will face West Hills at 2:00 p.m. in the consolation bracket.