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Monarchs fall to Lasers due to an almost scoreless third quarter

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

After responding to each blow dealt by Irvine Vall

L-R Irene Benavides (#24), Talia Shadow (#13), Sydney Martin (#15), Selena Torres (#32), Sophia Jimenez (#21), gather around Lady Monarchs head coach Monica Hang during the second half of the game against Irvine Lasers. Tuesday November 23 2021. Los Angeles, Calif. (photo by Christopher Perez / Valley Star)

ey College in the first half, the Monarchs fell apart in a disastrous second half.

By Edward Segal, Staff Writer

Irvine women’s basketball showed up ready to fight Tuesday on Valley’s home court, stealing the show in a third quarter that saw the Lasers outscore the Monarchs 22-6 on 68.7 shooting percentage.

After keeping the game close in the first half, the Monarchs were unable to contain Irvine’s offense in the third quarter, failing to keep up with the Lasers’ high-volume scoring. For the second straight game, the Monarchs’ struggle to find consistency on the offensive end prevented them from staying in the game. The 14 points scored in the third-quarter from freshman forward Sarah Matossian led to the Lady Monarchs’ downfall this time.

“Losing is part of it,” said Monarchs Assistant Coach Rafael Camacho, emphasizing the journey over one game. “What you get from [the game] is as important as [the result].”

Throughout the first half, the Monarchs responded to each of the Lasers’ punches, cutting an 8-point second-quarter deficit to one, but the chain of events that ended the first half gave the Lasers all the momentum they would need to finish the game.

When the Monarchs went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter, they looked ready to take control. Down 27-26 with under three minutes left in the first half, the Monarchs needed a defensive stop and basket to take the lead, but a wide open three-pointer hit by Laser guard Jessica Suruor put Irvine back up by four.

On the other end, Valley guard and forward Jordyn Jiron responded with a three-point shot of her own. Suruor then knocked down another triple to beat the shot clock, keeping the Monarchs at bay. Then, with less than one minute left, Jiron buried a three, making it a one-point game again. Suruor drained one more three to give her team a four-point halftime lead.

Fittingly, both Jiron and Suruor wear the number three.

What killed the Monarchs is that the offense that saved them in the second quarter did not show up in the third.

“It came down to effort, and the ability to stay focused and play at a high intensity both mentally and physically,” said Camacho.

While it was Surour who caught fire in the second quarter, Matossian put the team on her back in the third and put the Lasers up by over 20. With a statline of seven rebounds, three steals and 14 points in the third quarter, the freshman could not be stopped, and Valley could not respond.

In addition to their lack of scoring in the third, the Monarchs suffered from an inability to keep possession of the ball, ending the game with 21 turnovers, their season high. The Lasers had 18 themselves, but did a better job of capitalizing on those of the Monarchs.

Valley had three players finish with 10 points, those being Jiron, freshman forward Chellsiea Benitez, and sophomore guard Brianna Torres.

“Think of the mission. Realize where you’re heading,” said Camacho, emphasizing the little things the team can improve on. “ It may look like it’s just running around but what you do when you run is very important.”

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