SANTA ANA - The Dons jumped out to an early 21-8 lead after the first quarter before going on to a 78-74 win over visiting Riverside City College. The win snaps the Dons (14-9, 3-4) three-game losing streak while Riverside falls to 13-10 overall and 3-4 in the Orange Empire Conference.
After the game opened up with teams playing to a 6-6 tie, the Dons closed out the first quarter on a 15-2 run. The Tigers lone basket during that stretch, which spanned nearly six minutes, came after the Dons scored 15-straight points.
The Tigers rallied in the second quarter, outscoring the Dons 24-16 and cutting their lead to just five points at 37-32. While the Dons continued to hold the lead for the remainder of the game, Riverside was able to get within one point early in the second half at 41-40 with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Lauren Fruto closed out the third with a pair of free throws to put the Dons back up by six points at 57-51, but the Tigers pulled within one point again, this time at 57-56 with 7:43 left in the game.
The Dons would build their lead back up to six points on two Jen Ventura free throws with 1:43 left in the game before Riverside cut the lead to just two points at 74-72 with 15 seconds remaining. But Blaysen Varnadoe and Rachel Cain closed the game out with two free throws apiece to secure the 78-74 victory.
Varnadoe finished with a team-high 26 points while Cain scored 13 points as the only two Dons scorers in double digits. DoyleBenet Walker scored a game-high 30 points for the Tigers and Paradise Hanchett added 11 points.