Irvine Valley's women's basketball team tried to battle back from a slow start, but it wasn't enough in a 76-69 loss to Cypress at home in a battle for first place in the Orange Empire Conference.
The loss snapped Irvine Valley's 13-game unbeaten streak and stopped the team's perfect mark in conference play.
Irvine Valley, ranked No. 7 in the state and third in Southern California, had its record drop to 22-4 overall and 11-1 in conference. Cypress, ranked No. 19 in the state, improved to 19-7 overall and moved into a tie for first place in the conference with IVC at 11-1.
The Lasers finish the regular season next week with a home game against Orange Coast on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and then travel to Riverside on Thursday for a 5 p.m. contest.
Cypress plays at Saddleback on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and then ends the regular season against Santa Ana at home on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Cypress never trailed in Friday night's contest at Irvine Valley.
The Chargers scored the first 13 points of the game and took a 16-2 lead on a three-pointer by Gabby Carbajal with 4:54 left in the first quarter.
IVC missed its first eight shots of the contest.
The Lasers climbed within 20-17 on a layup by freshman guard Lexi Vail with 59 seconds left in the quarter and trailed, 22-17, after the first period.
But IVC never got closer than three points in the second quarter and Cypress build its lead back up again. Vivian Lara made a free throw to give Cypress a 35-25 lead with 4:57 left in the half.
The Lasers closed the first half strong. A jumper by sophomore forward Kasey Smit just before the end of the half pulled IVC to within 40-36.
A three-pointer by sophomore guard Elizabeth Garcia made it a 42-39 game a minute into the third quarter.
But Cypress scored the next six points in a row, capped by a layup by Carbajal with 7:23 left in the quarter to take a 48-39 advantage.
IVC trailed, 55-47, heading into the fourth quarter.
Cypress continued to use its size up front to grab offense rebounds and get second chance points.
An offensive rebounds and basket by Christa Evans with 7:07 to play put Cypress up, 65-52.
Irvine Valley got within 73-67 after getting two free throws by Smit with 53 seconds left.
But it wasn't enough.
Lara made a layup off a long pass from Evans to put the Chargers ahead, 75-67, and seal the win.
Cypress big advantage in the contest was on the glass. The Chargers out-rebounded Irvine Valley, 52-38.
And the Lasers shot just 35.6 percent (26 of 73) for the game. IVC shot 27.5 percent (11 of 40) in the second half.
Cypress shot 46.9 percent (30 of 64) in the contest.
Smit paced IVC with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Garcia had 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. Vail chipped in nine points and seven assists.
Cypress was paced by Carbajal with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Evans had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Lara ended with 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals for Cypress.