SIMI VALLEY, CA — One day after defeating La Verne 104-97, UC Santa Cruz faced another tough road game against the Cal Lutheran Regals. La Verne and Cal Lutheran share a common trait. Both teams want to control the tempo of the game. La Verne tries to force you into a run and gun shoot out taking the first good shot. Cal Lutheran plays at a snail's pace always looking for the best possible shot.
The Regals took advantage of a sluggish Slugs team and built an early 7-0 lead. The Slugs would not score until the 14 minute mark when Geena Giovannetti converted a beautiful back door pass from Taylor Willis. Ryane Ortiz followed with a 3 and Melody Barooni made an incredible left hand layup over two Regals to cut the lead to 11-7. Overall Santa Cruz struggled offensively throughout the game and shot only 30%. There were other bright spots as Amanda Spence and Ashley Holmes both scored on difficult drives and the team led by Erin Joo and Trina Torres played excellent defense. The Slugs trailed only 27-19 at the half.
The second half was amazingly similar to the first half. The Slugs played solid defense but were unable to score on a consistent basis. Twice the Regals opened double digit leads. Twice the Slugs cut the lead to four points as Jean Dulay made two long threes. Ryane then took over and made the next 11 Slug points on her way to a 14 point second half. The Regals, however, fended off the challenge and held a 48-42 the lead with less than 5 minutes to play. Santa Cruz needed stops. Erin and Trina blocked shots on consecutive possessions and Leah Parrish, who led the team with 8 boards, gathered in the misses.
The game came down to the next two possessions. The Slugs missed two open threes and the Regals drilled two open jumpers. The lead now 52-42 was just too much to overcome. Baskets by Taylor, Amanda and Erin made the final score 56-49 as Cal Lutheran made enough free throws to seal the Slugs fate.
The Slugs get a well-deserved two week rest before facing Pacific Union College on February 14.