Kara Ito (5) shooting from deep in a home loss against Santa Ana on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Saddleback College’s Women’s Basketball hosted the Santa Ana Dons as they looked to improve on what has been a losing season that is nearing it’s end.
The game did not start off how the Gauchos had hoped as they quickly found themselves trailing 12-2 early on. Fortunately, the hustle, shooting and ball distribution of point guard Teoncea Bennett gave them a surge of energy and helped the team’s confidence tremendously. Irma Ealy made a layup in the final seconds of the first quarter, making the score 15-14 Dons.
Saddleback’s momentum carried over into the second quarter with Hannah Saliba making back-to-back layups and giving them a 3-point lead. The two teams battled in a quarter that was decided by hustle, layups and rebounds.
As the game continued, sloppiness ensued for the Gauchos. Multiple missed shots led to noticeable frustration, which led to turnovers and fouls. The team was noticeably out of rhythm for the remainder of the second quarter and a turnover by Bennett sent the game into halftime.
The score at the half had Santa Ana leading 32-24 and the glaring issue was Saddleback’s shooting. They were making just over 30 percent of their shots and shot 0-7 from three-point range.
Irma Ealy started the third quarter off with an instant layup and then a jumpshot followed by a free throw. This instantly brought the team much closer, but Santa Ana’s Rachel Cain then broke her dry spell and made a three point shot, setting things back.
Nearing the end of the third, Santa Ana had a steady lead when the game was halted. Saddleback’s Angela Steel took an ugly fall after being tangled up and it became clear that she was in pain. After staying on the floor for a couple minutes and grasping her leg, Steel was helped off of the court to a standing ovation and left to be examined by trainers.
Teoncea Bennett sinking a floater during Saddleback’s tough home loss vs. Santa Ana on Tuesday.
The Gauchos finally ended their streak of missed three-pointers as Bennett made one to close out the third quarter trailing by seven.
Trailing in the fourth quarter, Saddleback needed a burst of momentum. It looked like they had found it as Bennett grabbed a steal and took it across the court for a layup, but the team was not able to play defense to keep the game balanced.
With four minutes remaining in the game, Amy Yoshinaga made a three-pointer and shortened the deficit to five. During a timeout, the previously injured Angela Steel amazingly re-entered the game and immediately picked up a steal. Unfortunately, her last second presence was not enough as Alysia Gamboa of Santa Ana finished the game out with a tactical inbounds pass, leaving the score 66-57, Santa Ana.
“We don’t shoot the ball well,” said Saddleback College’s head coach Fentriss Winn. “Basically that’s the story of our season.”
Winn was understandably upset as his team shot just 31.2 percent and only 13 percent from the three-point line.
Saddleback is 9-18 overall this season after losing their third in a row and 2-7 within their conference.