The battle for the Orange Empire Conference women's basketball championship tips off with a full slate of games on Wednesday night (1/9/19).
Three OEC teams enter conference play with a winning record, led by CCCWBCA's No. 18 ranked Irvine Valley College. The three-peat defending champion Chargers, along with the Fullerton Hornets also enter OEC play with winning records.
Below is a short recap on each team's season so far, in order of the current standings.
IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE – State Ranking: #18, SoCal Ranking: #10 (10-3)
The Lasers entered conference play winning eight of their previous 10 games, including a championship at the 14th Annual Irvine Valley Tournament. IVC is currently the highest scoring team in the Orange Empire Conference, averaging 67.8 points per game, while also leading the conference in defense allowing just 53.6 points per game. The lasers rely on a balanced attack led by freshman trio Anai Washinton, Zoe Stachowski, and Megan Herrera. All three players average double-figure scoring, 12.4 points, 12.3 points, and 11.3 points respectively. Along with her ability to score inside, Stachowski is fifth in the state and second in the OEC in rebounding at 14.3 rebounds per game.
CYPRESS COLLEGE – SoCal Ranking: #15 (8-6)
The three-peat defending champion Chargers will enter their conference opener with an 8-6 overall record, having won four of their last six games. All six Charger losses have come against opponents currently ranked in the CCCWBCA State Top-20 Poll, including No. 2 Moorpark, No. 3 Merced, No. 5 LA Trade Tech, and No. 15 El Camino. The Chargers have gotten it done relying upon strong play in the paint from sophomore Hannah Avila-McArthur. Avila McArthur leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 8 rebounds per game, while being the teams second leading scorer at 10.7 points per game. Freshman point guard Janei-Ruby Fuamatu averages a team-high 10.8 points per game, while shooting 36.6% from the floor.
FULLERTON COLLEGE – (8-6)
The Hornets are a serious contender for the OEC crown this season, coming off a big win over No. 14 Skyline, followed by a nail biting loss to No. 10 Mt. SAC. The Hornets are led by a pair of sophomore guards in Tristian Johns and Aliyah-Deen Ahmad, who each average over 14 points per game, while shooting about 40% from the field. Johns is also one of the team's leading rebounders, snagging 4.8 boards per game.
COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE – (5-6)
After a winless inaugural season last year, the Copper Mountain Fighting Cacti have managed to turn it around with five wins already this season. Copper Mountain will enter conference play coming off a 73-69 victory over Eastern Arizona prior to the New Year. Freshman center Chezerae Bogan-Osbey and freshman guard LeLisa Watson have led the way for the Cacti this season. Osbey is averaging a double-double on year, leading the team in points per game (15.9) and rebounds per game (12.8). Watson averages 13.8 points along with a team leading 4.4 assists per game.
RIVERSIDE CITY COLLEGE – (4-7)
The Tigers begin OEC play coming off a 75-60 victory over Ventura. Riverside has fallen victim to some nail biting loses so far this season, with four of their seven loses coming at a margin of less than 10 points. Freshman guard Trinity Vasquez and sophomore guard Dayna Dewitt are leading the charge for Riverside this year. Vasquez is averaging an efficient 17.5 points per game on 46% shooting, while Dewitt is scoring 16.1 points and grabbing a team-high 9.5 rebounds per game.
SANTA ANA COLLEGE – (4-9)
The Santa Ana College Dons have struggled as of late, dropping five of their last six games entering conference play. Freshman guards Lexi Ross and Nyla Bivens power the Dons' offense. Ross is averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, while Bivens adds 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
SADDLEBACK COLLEGE – (3-7)
The Gauchos played a tough non-conference schedule this year, with three of their seven losses coming to teams ranked in the CCCWBCA State Top-20 Poll. However, Saddleback has one of the most experienced team's in the OEC with its sophomore-laden roster. The Gauchos have four sophomores averaging double-figure scoring; Raven Herrington (13.7ppg), Kayla De Leon (12.1ppg), Joice Beda (12.1ppg), and Smanna Trinh (10.8ppg).
ORANGE COAST COLLEGE – (0-10)
The Pirates have had an uncharacteristic season thus far, still seeking their first win of the year. However, freshman guard Jalisa Simons leads the OEC averaging 19.4 points per game on 35% shooting to go along with a team-leading 11.4 rebounds per game.