The Saddleback women's basketball team collected some hardware on opening weekend after winning 2-of-3 at the Mt. San Antonio College Tournament. The Gauchos beat San Diego Mesa on Sunday in the consolation final.
Saddleback had a humbling start to the tournament but bounced back with two straight wins on Saturday and Sunday. The Gauchos dropped the opener to Rio Hondo College before rallying to beat both San Diego City College and San Diego Mesa to start the season 2-1.
Saddleback received 14 points from Mikala Benally and 13 from Jaida Garrett in holding off the Olympians for a 48-46 win in the consolation finals. The Gauchos never trailed in the game, leading from start-to-finish.
Saddleback had as much as a 15-point lead towards the end of the half and had a 13-point lead with 7:49 remaining after a 3-pointer from Benally. The Olympians then rallied to close within two in the final seconds, but couldn't get another opportunity as the Gauchos ran out the clock.
Saddleback got to the consolation finals with a 49-44 win against San Diego City on Saturday. The Gauchos sprinted out to a 13-2 lead after the opening quarter, holding the Knights to 9% shooting over the first 10 minutes. Saddleback increased the lead to as much as 14 when Garrett buried a three-pointer for a 25-11 lead with 1:23 left in the half. She again buried a three-pointer in the final seconds of the half as the Gauchos had a 28-15 lead at the break. Garrett finished with a game-high 19 points, also finishing with eight rebounds and three assists.
Garrett was named to the all-tournament team following the win on Sunday.
Saddleback will play its home-opener on Thursday against inter-district rival Irvine Valley College in a non-conference game as a part of the Saddleback Crossover Tournament. The Gauchos and Lasers are scheduled to start at 6:00 PM in the Saddleback Gymnasium.