SANTA ANA - There just wasn't enough time remaining for the Dons late rally as they fell to visiting Cypress College 77-71 in an Orange Empire Conference game. The results of tonight's game had a ripple effect on the OEC standings as Cypress moved into sole possession of first place while the Dons fell to fourth after Riverside City College's 57-56 upset of Irvine Valley College.
After the two teams played to a 35-31 score in the first half, the third quarter proved to be the difference maker in the game. Cypress held its lead of four points up to 50-46 before a holding the Dons in their defensive end for six possessions and expanding its lead to 57-46.
During that span, the Dons committed three turnovers that turned into a jump shot, a layup and a three-pointer for the Chargers. In total, Cypress outscored the Dons 28-20 in the third quarter to take a 12-point lead into the final frame.
The Dons were able to make a late run and cut the Cypress lead to as little as seven points on a Blaysen Varanadoe layup with 5:28 remaining in the half. However, the Chargers quickly reclaimed a double digit lead and held off the Dons until the final 77-71 score on a Jen Ventura three-pointer with two seconds left in the game.
Varnadoe was the game's leading scorer with 25 points with a trio of Dons joining her in double digits. Ventura finished with 15 points, Rachel Cain scored 11 points and Taylor Ivicevic added 10 points. Dominque Culho led Cypress with 22 points while Alyssa Movchan scored 15 points, Monique Mesa scored 12 points and Sylvia Garcia scored 11 points. Cypress also got a 13-point performance from Bianca Silva off the bench.
The Dons close out the 2015-16 regular season on Friday at home against Irvine Valley College. Tip-off is set for 5:00 PM.