After climbing to within four points of the third-ranked team in the state, the Allan Hancock College women's basketball team could not climb any closer and fell 80-49 to Mt. San Jacinto to open the 8th annual Ventura College Optimist Club Holiday Tournament on Thursday. The Bulldogs fell to 6-7 overall, while Mt. San Jacinto, the No. 3 ranked team in the state, improved to 13-1 after its 11th straight victory.
Grace Rosa erupted for 16 points in the second half to finish with a team-high 20 points for the Bulldogs. The sophomore sank a pair of free throws in the second half to pull Hancock to within 38-34 with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter. However, Mt. San Jacinto responded with a 14-2 run to close out the third quarter to build a 52-36 lead.
Rosa went 8-for-16 from the field overall and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. She added five rebounds and blocked one shot.
Taylor Lee-Hammer scored seven points in the first three minutes of the game to push Hancock out to a 7-2 lead. The Bulldogs trailed 13-12 after the first quarter and 31-23 at halftime. Lee-Hammer, a sophomore guard, finished with 13 points overall behind a 5-for-13 shooting performance and 3-for-6 mark from 3-point range. Lee-Hammer added four assists and three rebounds.
Karly Beyers added 12 points and six rebounds. The Pioneer Valley High School graduate went 6-for-6 from the line and 2-for-3 from 3-point range. Anamarie Fruge and Kiesa Romero added two points apiece.
Hancock shot 35 percent overall, 16-for-45, and sank 12 of its 14 free throws or 86 percent.
Three Mt. San Jacinto players scored 14 or more points led by Delacy Brown, who finished with 21 points. Kaila Gower erupted for 11 points in the third quarter to finish with 17 points. Britney Thomas added 14 points behind a 12-point fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs return to action at 1 p.m. Friday in the consolation semifinals against Irvine Valley (9-3). Irvine fell 72-57 to L.A. Valley (10-6) in the first round. Irvine Valley is ranked No. 9 in the state, and L.A. Valley is ranked No. 14.