“[The timeout] killed the vibe a little bit,” said Marolt after the game, smiling. She had reason to after scoring a team-high 12 points.
“[The pressure] was really getting to me, but I knew I had to just get through it.”
Junior post Katie Bergsma stole the ball on the ensuing Vaqueros possession, allowing CdM (16-3) to even its league record. The Sea Kings lost to Laguna Hills, 66-22, in their league opener last Thursday.
“That was our first time being blown out, but we knew that Laguna Hills is far and above everybody else,” Coach Mark Decker said. “I thought, and still think, that us, Irvine and Uni are all right there. But this is a great win for us. It’s huge for our morale, our confidence level.”
The game was back and forth all night, but Irvine (10-6, 1-1) took a late 41-38 lead on a three-pointer from freshman Brittany Ballard.
A put-back by CdM sophomore Saylor Schroff brought CdM within a point with 50 seconds left. Two possessions later, Irvine junior standout Kristan Liddle fouled out after being called for a charge. Fourteen seconds remained.
Marolt drove the baseline, was fouled and calmly made the game-winning free throws.
“That’s how we’ve been playing all year, just keep playing and keep putting pressure on the other team,” Decker said. “I think we had a lot of defensive lapses ... [but] the last two or three possessions, we finally played solid defense without fouling or giving them a second shot. A couple of defensive stops eventually won us the game.”
Senior forwards Sami Stern and Brittany Rhyme added eight points each for the Sea Kings.
Freshman forward Jessica Thawley had a game-high 15 points for Irvine, ranked No. 12 in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A coaches’ poll. But Liddle was held to a season-low seven points.
“We tried to double her a lot, and just crowd her,” Marolt said.
Pacific Coast League
Corona del Mar 42, Irvine 41
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Irvine – Thawley 15, Ballard 12, Liddle 7, Callian 4, Diplacito 2, Murthy 1.
3-pt. goals – Ballard 2, Liddle 1.
Fouled out – Liddle.
CdM – Marolt 12, Stern 8, Rhyme 8, Rapp 4, Bergsma 4, Brahs 3, Schroff 2, Nadal 1.
3-pt. goals – None.
Fouled out – None.