RCC women’s basketball falls behind

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By Danielle Schmidt

By Danielle Schmidt

RCC’s women’s basketball team opened the 2010-11 season with a loud bang, taking the fourth-place title at the Mt. San Antonio Tournament in early November.

The Tigers opened the tournament with an impressive 68-59 win over San Joaquin Delta, a traditional powerhouse team in Northern California. After their first victory, the team suffered back-to-back defeats, losing 69-58 to Mt. San Antonio and 86-72 to College of the Canyons, two contenders for the state title each year.

Riverside was forced to spend the majority of their season primarily on the road as the district remodels Wheelock Gym, which was built in the 1920s.

Along with the men’s basketball team, the Riverside women’s basketball team is playing their home conference games at North and Poly High School.

RCC had a total of 14 points from freshman Marreon Belt (Silverado) and 12 from sophomore Brianna Byrd (Canyon Springs) as the team rolled to a 70-41 victory over host San Diego Mesa in a non-conference game.

The Tigers then took fourth at the Santa Barbara Tournament. After an amazing opening win over Grossmont, 75-63, the team later lost their next two; 94-73 to San Bernardino Valley and 63-54 to Orange Coast, a conference opponent.

Riverside went on to win the consolation championship at the Orange Coast – Mt. San Antonio Thanksgiving Tournament. The Tigers (5-5) were led by sophomore Brianna Byrd, a graduate of Canyon Springs High School and a transfer from Fresno Pacific University. In the consolation final, she had 16 points and 5 rebounds in the 72-46 win over Santa Ana.

Riverside opened the Orange Empire Conference schedule with a 55-40 victory over host, Saddleback. The Tigers (11-7) dominated the first 20 minutes of the game, out scoring the Gauchos (7-10) ending the game with a 31-19 Tigers victory.

The Tigers out rebounded, out hustled and out shot Santa Ana, as the team came to a 70-52 Orange Empire Conference victory at North High School.

Against Santa Ana, Riverside dominated from the start. After a 2-2 tie, Riverside went on a 33-14 and eventually took a 37-18 halftime lead into the locker room. The Tigers went on to open a 30-point lead at 54-24 with 13 minutes left. Santa Ana, who got 22 points from Ashley Chavira, never got within 25 points down the stretch.

When the Tigers played against Cypress last Friday, the team suffered a losing setback, 68-78. The loss pushes Riverside to four games behind the Hornets, who are undefeated.

Riverside hosts Irvine Valley on Feb. 9 before traveling to Fullerton on Friday, Feb. 11. The team would need to win out to tie for the conference title.

The Tigers head into their final games with the overall record 4-3, 14-10; they will face Irvine Valley, Fullerton and Orange Coast for the ending title.

Sports Brief

RCC men’s basketball continues hot streak

Despite an early season slump, the Riverside City College men’s basketball team is in the mix of the Orange Empire Conference and is tied for the No. 1 spot in the conference.

The team started its season 9-8 in non-conference games but the team is 17-10 and 8-2 after defeating Irvine Valley 75-67 to be tied for the top spot in the conference.

Irvine Valley held the best conference record at 8-1 and an overall record of 21-4 and in its last game against RCC, the team defeated the Tigers 72-68 at home.

“We are peaking at the right time and we are playing the right way at the right time,” said coach John Smith. “You want to be your best in the playoffs and we are building towards our best right now.”

With only two games against Fullerton College and Orange Coast College following the game against Irvine Valley, the RCC Tigers look to play their best and find a way into the playoffs.

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