The Saddleback women's basketball team advanced to the winner's bracket in the opening round of the Chaffey Panther Pride Tournament on Friday with a 54-45 win over Oxnard College. The Gauchos struggled from the field but managed to advance to play the host team on Saturday.
Saddleback jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening 3:10 of the game, as Janae Omusi and Kiazha Ginwright drained back-to-back three pointers and Laura Tapia made a pair of free throws. Unfortunately, things would go very cold from that point forward as the Gauchos battled some shooting woes and had to rely on solid defense and good shooting from the free throw line in order to turn back the Condors. Saddleback would close out the opening quarter with a 14-7 lead and had a 24-17 lead at the half. The Gauchos never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
Saddleback was led by Omusi, who finished with a game-high 16 points on 4-of-14 shooting from the field. Omusi managed to make all six free throw attempts on the night while collecting a game-high 11 rebounds. The free throw line was the friend of the Gauchos all night as Saddleback made 19-of-23 from the charity stripe.
Saddleback's defense was solid, holding Oxnard to 26.7% shooting from the field. The Condors made only 1-of-9 from beyond the arc while committing 20 turnovers. Saddleback had to rely on the bench down the stretch after both Ginwright and Irma Ealy fouled out of the game in the final minutes.
Saddleback improved to 5-2 on the season and will play in the semifinals against Chaffey on Saturday. Tip time is scheduled for 6:00 PM.