SANTA ANA - For the third straight year, the Dons have advanced to the Championship Game of the Santa Ana College Tournament. This year's trip to the final game came following their 97-77 victory over Santa Barbara City College.
The Dons will face San Bernardino Valley College after the Wolverines defeated Moorpark College 62-56 in overtime. Last season, the Dons lost the Championship Game just a year off their first-ever title in their host tournament.
Tonight's game opened close as both teams shot well in the first quarter with the Dons holding just a five-point lead at 29-24. The Dons shot 45% in the first quarter while Santa Barbara shot 50%. The Vaqueros took the edge in the second quarter, outscoring the Dons 17-16 to cut SAC's lead to just four going into the break.
Both teams cooled off shooting-wise in the third quarter with Santa Barbara shooting 34% while the Dons managed to shoot just 31%. Despite the low shooting percentage, the Dons were able to extend their lead to seven points.
Finally in the fourth quarter, the Dons pulled away with a 13-point advantage in the final 10 minutes to take the 20-point victory. The fourth quarter was the Dons best quarter shooting as they shot 52% from the field and 60% from three-point range, including three three-pointers by Rachel Cain.
The Dons were once again sparked by Amanda Sanchez off the bench as she scored 17 points, just one point behind Blaysen Varnadoe's team-high 18 points. Celia Duran added 16 points for the Dons while Cain scored 12 points. Taylor Ivicevic and Jen Ventura each added 11 points apiece to round out the Dons in double digits.
The second day of the tournament opened with West Hills College-Lemoore defeating Bakersfield College 77-68 to advance to Saturday's Consolation Championship Game. The Eagles will face off against Merced College after the Blue Devils defeated San Diego Mesa College 72-57. That game will be played at 12:00 p.m.
The Third Place game will follow at 2:00 p.m. and will feature Santa Barbara against Moorpark before the Dons take on San Bernardino Valley at 4:00 p.m. in the Championship Game.