Fullerton College Women Finally Pull Away, Win : Basketball: Hornets beat Orange Coast, 50-43, in consolation final of tournament.
Colleen Riley has spent the last 25 years watching her Fullerton College women’s basketball team win and lose its share of close games.
But Riley, who is stepping down as head coach after this season, couldn’t remember a more frustrating season than this in terms of losing close games.
Fullerton (10-7) had lost five games by a total of 15 points before Sunday’s game against Orange Coast in the consolation final of the Coast Christmas Classic.
But this time, her Hornets prevailed, 50-43, in a game in which they didn’t pull away until late.
Fullerton and Orange Coast will meet twice more this season in Orange Empire Conference games.
“This is a good win for us,” said Riley, who will remain at Fullerton as a teacher. “I told them at halftime that this game sets the tone for the conference. We know we have to finish first, second or third to go anywhere.”
Riley, who has an overall record of 549-139, is the winningest community college men’s or women’s coach in state history. Her teams have won 15 conference titles, six Southern California titles and a State title in 1978.
Neither team played well at the outset and Orange Coast led, 4-2, six minutes into the game.
But Fullerton was ahead, 26-25, at the half. The Hornets increased their lead to 36-32 on a basket by Valory Widdison with 8:49 left.
But Orange Coast went on a 5-0 run and took its only lead of the second half on a layup by Monique Sweet with 7:03 left.
But OCC’s shooting went cold again and Fullerton came back. Orange Coast shot 25% (16 for 63) for the game.
Minette Gomez then scored five consecutive points as the Hornets took a 41-37 lead with 6:04 left. Neither team scored for a little more than three minutes. Fullerton then increased its lead to 45-37 when Jocelyn Mackzum made a 10-footer with 2:49 left.
Mackzum, who had a team-high 14 points, had just returned after being tripped and taking a fall. She was out of the game about five minutes.
Gomez had 13 points and Mackzum also had 11 rebounds for Fullerton.
LeAnn Kazmer had 14 points and Petra Murdoch had 10 rebounds for Orange Coast (10-5).