Sophia Torres shattered her career highs with 19 points and 17 rebounds on Friday night, guiding SBCC to a 77-43 rout of Taft in the season opener at the Sports Pavilion.
The Vaqueros are hosting the three-day MTXE Crossover with six teams playing in a round-robin format.
SBCC jumped out to an 11-3 lead, then dominated the second quarter 26-10 to take a 25-point lead at the half (43-18).
Torres, a 5-11 sophomore forward who's a former Santa Barbara High star, dominated the action along with former Dons' teammate Alondra Jimenez.
Torres hit 3-7 from the field and 13-16 free throws. She was relentless on the backboards with 10 of her 17 rebounds coming at the offensive end. Torres, who played 24 games for the Vaqueros in 2017-18 and redshirted last year, easily eclipsed her previous SBCC highs of 14 points and nine rebounds.
Jimenez, a left-handed sophomore point guard, added 17 points, four rebounds, five assists and five steals. Jada Forsdick-Stevenson had 14 points and six boards on a night the Vaqueros outrebounded the Cougars 59-34. They also won the shooting battle, 36.8 to 24.1%.
Ciera Van Quick grabbed 11 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench in her Vaquero debut.
"Alondra is really good at seeing a play before it happens," said Torres. "We're really good at playing off each other, we'll give-and-go a lot. She knows how to run the ball and push it fast."
Torres says she doesn't mind guarding bigger players in the post.
"I like getting bumped up and getting low," she stated. "I love when posts are bigger than me. A lot of times, they see how small I am and think they can take advantage of me. I know how to get low and stand my ground. It's fun bumping them."
Forsdick-Stevenson canned a 3-pointer for a 20-10 lead in the second quarter. Two minutes later, she drove between two players for a 6-foot bank and a foul to ignite a 12-0 run. She made the free throw, boosting the lead to 27-13.
Jimenez scored a bucket and two free throws, Van Quick nailed a triple and Torres made two more free throws for a 36-13 lead with 3:20 to go in the second quarter.
The Vaqueros scored the first nine points of the third quarter and stretched the margin to 52-18 on a layup by Jade Jones. The 34-point lead was their largest of the night.
"That was a great way to start the season," said associate head coach Devin Engebretsen. "The girls came out and played really hard. What's great about them is their energy. They really enjoy each other and playing for each other.
"Sophia lets her game do the talking. She's not out there doing a lot of chirping. When she plays hard like that, it makes everybody better. You have to account for her under the basket, she's rebounding the ball, she's our primary step-up person when we get beat. And her effort got her to the free-throw line 16 times."
In other games on Friday, Butte defeated Chaffey 78-60 and Copper Mountain took care of Ohlone 76-66.
There are three games on Saturday at SBCC. Ohlone vs. Taft will start the day at 2 p.m., followed by Chaffey vs. Copper Mountain at 4 p.m. and the Vaqueros taking on Butte at 6 p.m.
Coach Sandrine Krul talks things over after the Vaqueros took the first quarter, 17-8. (Photo by Dave Loveton)