The Copper Mountain Fighting Cacti Women's Team opened their season with 3 games in the Santa Barbara City College Tournament. Game 1 of the tournament saw the ladies matched up against Ohlone College of Northern California. The shorthanded Cacti were playing without three key contributors for the team but found a way to fight to a 76-66 win to open the season. Lelisa Watson would lead the way for the Cacti scoring 33 points and hauling in 21 rebounds for the game. Kearra Tauta chipped in 16 points and 12 rebounds and Alyssa Shepard added 11 for CMC in the win. Gina Anton led the way with 8 assists in the game.
Game 2 matched up the Cacti with new Inland Empire Athletic Conference foe Chaffey College. The Cacti were amazing in the first half with their offensive execution and defensive rotations against the much larger Panthers. The Fighting Cacti surged out to a 44-26 halftime lead. Foul trouble and tired legs made for a different story in the second half. Chaffey outscored the Cacti by 19 in the second half and hit the game-winner with 2.3 seconds left in the game. The Cacti fell 74-73 in the game. Lelisa Watson set a tournament record with 40 points in the game and had 8 steals. Alyssa Shepard contributed 11 points.
Butte college would be the opponent for game 3. The very solid Butte College saw the Fight in the Fighting Cacti. The Cacti were once again very good in the first half. CMC hit 9 three-pointers in the first half and built up a 49-41 point halftime lead. Butte's depth and shooting turned the game around in the second half as Butte pulled away to a 95-79 win. Lelisa Watson tied her tournament high with another 40 point effort. Kearra Tauta had 15 points and 7 rebounds and Alyssa Shepard tacked on 14 points. CMC shot just under 50% for the game.
The Cacti should get back close to full health for Thursday's (November 7) contest against Palomar College at the Mt. San Jacinto Tournament. They will follow that up with a game against Antelope Valley on Friday at MSJC.