The Eagles (10-6, 1-0 in league) made a statement on Costa Mesa’s court. The first of two games for Battle for the Bell was not much of a battle for Estancia.
“We’re trying to set a new tradition of not losing to Mesa,” said Soto, who by herself created havoc on both ends of the floor.
The junior finished with a game-high 15 points and 13 steals.
When told of Soto’s steals, first-year coach Xavier Castellano believed the total, even though it was high.
“We don’t even keep track of steals,” said Castellano, knowing at times co-coach Judd Fryslie tries to keep stats in his head.
Fryslie and Castellano have no reason to when it comes to steals. Whenever Soto defends, the ball tends to end up in her hands.
By halftime, Soto ripped the ball away or came up with a loose ball as many times as Costa Mesa (5-11, 0-1) managed points.
The Eagles forced 21 turnovers and jumped out to a 34-10 halftime lead, an uphill climb for the already-down Mustangs.
Supple went into the game without starting point guard Amy Gentling (ankle) and center Julianne Judkins (knee), two members off last season’s league championship team.
Claiming the league crown for a third straight season seems unlikely for Costa Mesa if these two players can’t return.
Supple said Gentling and Judkins might not and he’s concerned.
On Thursday, Estancia gave him enough problems to distract him.
“Just picking up the defensive intensity,” Supple said he told his team at halftime. “The first half wasn’t Costa Mesa basketball.”
The way the Mustangs in the first half shot, going four for 22 from the floor and two for 11 from the free-throw line, it was far from successful basketball.