The Saddleback women's basketball team finished the season with a 61-53 victory over Santa Ana College on Friday night in the Saddleback Gymnasium. The Gauchos started the night by honoring the sophomores, who then went out and returned the favor.
Saddleback opened the night with flowers and accolades for the six sophomores playing their final game. The sophomores then proceeded to score 59 of the 61 points in finishing the season on a high note.
Saddleback led for most of the game, opening up a 36-28 lead at the intermission and never relinquishing the advantage. The Gaucho sophomores scored every point in the opening 20 minutes, with Joice Beda leading the way with 10 points and seven rebounds. Beda finished the first half going 5-for-5 from the field as Santa Ana had no answer inside for the sophomore who recently set the program record for rebounds in a single game.
Santa Ana closed the gap to six points to start the second half before Saddleback went on a seven point run to take a 43-30 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Nagina Hamid started the run with a layup before Kayla De Leon buried a three-pointer on the following possession. Beda then beat Santa Ana down low for another layup and the Gauchos were off and running. Beda would finish the quarter with 14 points and 13 rebounds as Saddleback carried a 51-37 lead into the final quarter.
Saddleback eventually opened up a 16 point lead with under eight minutes remaining in the contest before Santa Ana made a mini run to cut the lead to 10 with 3:10 remaining in the game. The Gauchos then clamped down on defense, allowing just three points to the Dons in the final minutes.
Beda finished with a game-high 20 points and 17 rebounds, making 9-of-11 shots from the field. De Leon further distanced herself in the record books, making three shots from beyond the arc to finish her career with a program record 160.
Saddleback finishes the season 6-18 overall and 3-9 in Orange Empire Conference play (6th place). Santa Ana finished the season 6-21, 2-12.