FULLERTON -- The Orange Coast College women's basketball team continues to grind through a tough season, but not without the fight of a champion. On Wednesday, Coast played at Fullerton College and pushed the Hornets to the limit, before falling 76-71.
Hanging tough with the Hornets through three quarters, the Pirates used a strong start to the fourth to build a 64-58 lead. A 12-3 run that ended the third and started the fourth was capped off by a 3-pointer by Sydney Driggs, which put Coast up by six with just over 6 minutes remaining.
Fullerton responded with a 15-3 run to regain a 73-67 lead with 1:18 left before a pair of made free throws by Aubriona Mathis and a Driggs bucket trimmed the deficit to two (73-71) with 26 seconds remaining.
Coast quickly fouled FC's Lani Maehara, who made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, giving Coast a chance to tie things up and force overtime in the final seconds. But, an OCC turnover caused by a Kristen Sheriff steal forced the Pirates into fouling Deziree McGee, who nailed both free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the victory.
Mathis finished with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds for OCC, while Driggs added 16 points and eight rebounds. Off the bench, Angelina Alvarez tossed in 12 points to go along with four assists.
The Pirates return to the Peterson Gym on Friday to host Saddleback, beginning at 7 p.m.