Winning their last two Orange Empire Conference games, the Hornets had a tall order at home Wednesday night against the #7th ranked Irvine Valley College Lasers, and lost a tight one 66-51.
The loss knocks FC (4-5, 8-13 overall) out of fourth place in a tough Orange Empire Conference race, while Irvine Valley remains undefeated (9-0, 19-3 overall) in the OEC.
Fullerton opened up the first quarter making a statement grabbing a 7-2 lead. Melody Thomsen was strong under the basket and Aliya-Deen Ahmad slashed her way to the basket keeping IVC off balance. Thomsen hit a jumper with a second left in the quarter putting the Hornets up 13-7.
The second quarter was a dogfight as IVC took their first lead of the game within in a minute on a three-pointer by Bryana Espritu and then a layup by Mary Dishonian. IVC was up 19-15 at 5:58, but FC battled back to take the lead, 24-22 on a lay-in by Ahmad. By the end of the half, the Hornets were on top 33-29.
Lani Maehara knocked down a three-pointer at 5:26 in the third quarter adding to Fullerton's lead at 38-32. The momentum of the game soon swung the other way as Irvine Valley went on a game-breaking 15-2 run to take the lead at 47-40. From there the Hornets went cold.
The fourth quarter was all IVC as their defense held the Hornets to a total of 6 points. The Lasers took advantage grabbing their largest lead of the game of 18 with just over 3 minutes left. The Hornets gave all that they had, but in the end the OEC's top team came up big for the win.
Up Next: The Hornets (8-13, 4-5) will hit the road this Friday, February 2nd to play against Orange Coast College. Tip off is at 5:00 pm.
*Photos by Phil Thurman