Mountain View's Jessica Salaz, right, tangles with teammate Hannah Boubion as they try to corral a rebound in front of Tucson's Erin-Christina Rupp in the second quarter.


After starting the season 14-0, Tucson picked up its second loss in three games, falling 56-50 at Mountain View on Friday.

The Mountain Lions (11-4), who were coming off a 59-50 win at Chandler Basha the night before, trailed by two in the opening quarter.

The Badgers (15-2), playing their first game in a week, were led defensively in the first quarter by freshman Alexis Cortez and Jazmyne Redmond. Cortez's three blocks and Redmond's three steals ignited Tucson's offense for 17 points. Cortez, who scored 21 points in the game, had six in the first quarter.

"We tried to keep the ball out of (Cortez's) hands as much as we possibly could," said Mountain Lions' senior guard Jessica Salaz, who finished with 18 points.

Mountain View answered back in the second quarter to take a 29-28 lead into halftime. The Mountain Lions took advantage of the Badgers' poor shooting and limited their second-chance opportunities. The Badgers shot 3 for 17 from the field in the quarter.

"We needed to do a better job of keeping them off the boards," Mountain View coach Niki Melchiori said. "We were doing a better job of being patient and attacking the basket."

In the third quarter, the Mountain Lions went on a 14-1 run in the first six minutes to pull ahead 42-29. Salaz scored seven points in the run.

Tucson would go on a run to end the third and creep within seven of Mountain View.

The Badgers kept the momentum going into the final quarter. Two free throws from Erin-Christina Rupp cut the deficit to 46-45 with 4:24 left.

"Tucson High is a great team," said Melchiori. "I knew this was going to be a battle coming in."

Mountain View hit eight free throws down the stretch.

The Badgers had a chance to tie it with 30 seconds left off a breakaway steal by Redmond, but then Melody McLaughlin raced down the court to reject Redmond and seal the victory.

"We seemed to struggle a bit keeping our lead, but they really dug deep and stuck it out," Melchiori said.