SANTA ANA – The Dons picked up their first Orange Empire Conference victory of the season with a 76-59 win over visiting Orange Coast College. The win improves the Dons to 7-13 overall and 1-3 in conference while Orange Coast falls to 3-15 overall and 0-4 in conference.
After Orange Coast took two early leads at 2-0 and 4-2, the Dons used back-to-back layups by Jocelyn Calvillo to take their first lead of the game at 6-4 before an Alysia Gamboa three-pointer put the Dons up 9-4.
The Dons would continue to lead for the remainder of the half, with their largest lead coming at 24-14 with 7:40 left on a Kylie Rodriguez free throw. SAC would go on to take a 37-33 lead into the half after the Pirates chipped into the Dons lead.
Orange Coast would score the first two baskets of the second half with a Jasmine Matar layup and a Kawa Andrade jumper to tie the game at 37-37, before coming back to reclaim the lead at 40-39 on an Andrade jumper.
The Dons would come back to tie the game at 44-44 on a Gamboa three-pointer before Rodriguez put the Dons back on top at 46-44. Matar would pull OCC back into a 46-46 tie before Jordan Roberson-McCanless put the Dons ahead for good with a free throw that made the score 47-46.
That free throw sparked a 12-0 run for the Dons that included three-pointers by Rachel Cain and Gamboa. Orange Coast came back with a 5-0 run of their own to pull within seven at 58-51, but that would be the closest the Pirates would get for the remainder of the game.
Gamboa led the way for the Dons with 20 points while Rodriguez added 18 points and Cain scored 15 points. Rodriguez also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds for the Dons. The Pirates got 21 points out of Matar followed by a pair of 10-point performances by Andrade and Nicole Beaudoin.