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Irvine Valley Turns Back Orange Coast

Irvine Valley had a large advantage in rebounds, an even larger advantage on free throws, but still had to hang on for a 58-51 victory over persistent Orange Coast in an Orange Empire Conference women’s basketball game Friday in Costa Mesa.

Pam Loud, a sophomore forward, led first-place Irvine Valley (18-6, 5-1) with 20 points and 14 rebounds and sophomore center Alison Carr had 12 rebounds and 12 points as the taller Lasers dominated inside.

Irvine Valley had 50 rebounds and Orange Coast 26. Loud scored her team’s first eight points of the second half as Irvine Valley opened a 35-28 lead. The Lasers later went on a 13-0 run and appeared to have the game under control, 48-30, with 9 minutes 59 seconds to play.

“We were playing not to lose,” Irvine Valley Coach Lisa McNamee said. “We got up by 18 points then went right in the tank.”

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Orange Coast (18-9, 4-4) started to cut into the lead with its quicker unit. Traci Nakamura made a three-pointer with 38 seconds left to cut the Irvine Valley lead to 56-51. Irvine Valley then turned it over, but Orange Coast missed two three-pointers and didn’t score again.

Orange Coast used a full-court press to get close and forced 26 turnover in the game. But the Pirates also were called for 25 fouls, which helped Irvine Valley shoot 34 free throws. The Lasers made 21.

Irvine Valley, which didn’t play as much pressure defense, was called for 15 fouls and Orange Coast made three of seven free throws.

Orange Coast forward Dianne Pulido, who fouled out with 7:25 left, had a team-high 13.

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