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Defense does it for Vaqueros in 59-47 victory

Sophia Torres, a freshman from Santa Barbara High, hit 6-7 shots and scored a career-high 14 points. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Sophia Torres, a freshman from Santa Barbara High, hit 6-7 shots and scored a career-high 14 points. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Defense was the word on Saturday night as SBCC held Cuesta to 26 points in the first three quarters of a 59-47 women's basketball win at the Sports Pavilion.

SBCC outscored Cuesta 29-18 in the middle two quarters while evening their records at 11-11 overall and 3-3 in the WSC North.

Holly Barrera paced the Vaqueros' balanced attack with 14 points and nine rebounds. Sophia Torres hit 6-7 field goals and notched a season-high 14 points off the bench.

Aaliyah Pauling collected 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. Courtney Barba, the WSC North scoring leader, topped Cuesta (9-11, 1-5) with 16 points.

"I thought our defense was the difference," said Vaquero coach Sandrine Krul. "We came up with key stops when Cuesta was on a run in the second and third quarters.

"I was really proud of the way Sophia and Kaysie Back stepped up off the bench. Sophia scored because Kaysie was moving without the ball and that allowed Sophia to go to work in the paint."

The Vaqueros enjoyed a +10 advantage in free throws, making  20-of-31 compared to Cuesta's 10-18.

SBCC trailed 8-4 in the opening quarter, then went on a 16-5 run and took a 20-11 second-quarter lead on a follow shot by Torres. They led 31-21 at intermission and the margin grew to 14 points (40-26) on two free throws by Pauling with 23.7 seconds left in the third.

The Vaqueros outscored the visitors 9-5 in the third period. Morgan Giove added six points and four rebounds off the bench on a night the Vaquero bench outscored its counterpart 30-4.

"Morgan's intensity off the bench was outstanding," Krul added. She got key rebounds and scored at key times to stop Cuesta's momentum. She also played great post defense, taking away two key post options.

"At times, she was the only sophomore on the court with four freshmen. I'm very proud of her maturity in our last two games."

The Vaqueros will host Oxnard on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Coaches vs. Cancer game.