Irvine Valley's women's basketball team stayed in the hunt for an Orange Empire Conference title with a 62-52 victory over Santa Ana at home Wednesday night.
The Lasers improved their record to 14-11 overall and 5-2 in conference. IVC is a game behind both Fullerton and Cypress for first place.
Irvine Valley did just enough to beat a hard-working Santa Ana team on Wednesday. It was a back and forth game in the first half.
IVC scored the first six points of the game, but Santa Ana was later up 17-13 after a three-pointer by Anna Nguyen.
Irvine Valley went ahead, 24-21, on a three-pointer by sophomore forward Melanie Kashanchi, but then Janelle Flores hit a three-pointer by Santa Ana to make it a 24-24 game with 5:18 left in the first half.
Irvine Valley closed out the half, out-scoring Santa Ana, 9-3, to go into the break ahead, 33-27. Freshman point guard Amber Wharton made a three-pointer with 29 seconds left to give IVC the 33-37 lead.
Irvine Valley scored the first five points of the second half. The Lasers increased their lead to 38-27 on a three-point play by sophomore forward Jackie Fa'asamala less than a minute into the second half.
Santa Ana got back to within two points at 38-36 on a three-pointer by Liliana Gonzalez with 17:25 left.
But it was all Lasers after that.
Irvine Valley went on an 11-2 run over the next 10 minutes. Freshman forward Shomari McCorkle grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to put the Lasers ahead, 49-38, with 7:10 remaining.
Santa Ana made just one of 15 shots from the field during that stretch. Irvine Valley's lead never got under six the rest of the way.
IVC was paced by McCorkle and Wharton, who had 14 points apiece. McCorkle added nine rebounds and four steals and Wharton had five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Kashanchi chipped in 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the victory for Irvine Valley.
The Lasers shot 36.2 percent from the field (21 of 58) for the game and held Santa Ana to 35.4 percent shooting (17 of 48).
The Dons (5-17, 0-8) were paced by Flores, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Nguyen added 11 points and four steals and Berlin Ohanesian had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Santa Ana.
Irvine Valley plays at Saddleback in a big game for both teams Friday night at Saddleback at 5:30 p.m.
Saddleback handed IVC one of its two losses in conference, beating the Lasers in a close game at IVC, 63-59. Saddleback sits at 5-3 in conference.