SANTA ANA (11-06-2018) / UPDATED 11-07-2018) – Palomar's women's basketball team, which was ranked No. 1 in California last season before falling in the State Championships, came from behind in its season opener on Tuesday to down Santa Ana College 64-48 in a non-conference game on the road.
Dee Dee Valenzuela, a 5-foot-4 freshman guard out of San Marcos High School, led coach Leah Marshall's squad with 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal while playing only 17 minutes.
Palomar fell behind 8-0 to begin the game and trailed 16-13 after the first quarter.
The Comets finally took the lead for the first time 18-16 on a 3-pointer by Valenzuela off Keiara Barton's assist with 8:48 to play in the second quarter and eventually went on top for good 24-21 on Morgan Heise's 3-pointer off Valenzuela's assist with 3:57 left in the first half.
It was 33-24 at halftime and Palomar led by as many as 19 points in the second half.
The Comets made the most of their depth as Marshall, as usual, rotated players in and out of the game and played at 14 women on the Palomar roster. Valenzuela was the only Comet to score in double figures.
Barton (9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) was the Comets' second-leading score, followed by Imari Coley (8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Taylor Williams (7 points, 3 steals).
Lillie Crabtree led Palomar's in rebounds with nine.
The Comets will open play in the San Jacinto Lions Club Eagle Tip-Off Tournament, hosted by defending state champion Mt. San Jacinto, when they face Copper Mountain on Friday at 1 p.m. at Mt. San Jacinto College. Palmar is the defending tournament champion.
Palomar will play Antelope Valley or San Diego Mesa in either the championship semifinals (at 4 p.m.) or the consolation semifinals (at noon) on the second day of the tournament Saturday.
Chaffey, Barstow, Orange Coast and Mt.l San Jacinto are on the other side of the bracket.
The championship game will be played at 3 p.m. Sunday, following the consolation title gae at 11 a.m. and the third-place game at 1 p.m.