SANTA CRUZ, CA -- With 14 minutes to go in the first half, the Slugs looked in trouble as Willamette led 17-7. Lashay Alexander came off the bench to provide a much needed energy spark as the Slugs rallied from a 10 point first half deficit to defeat the Willamette Bearcats 77-51.
Alexander poured in 6 points and grabbed 3 rebounds over a 4 minute span that brought life to a stagnate offense. Ryane Ortiz, who finished with a game high 16 points, converted back to back driving layups and the Slugs took their first lead 26-25 at the 8 minute mark. The Slugs would never look back. The lead blossomed to 35-29 after buckets by Melody Barooni and a long three by Ortiz. Geena Giovannetti scored 6 quick points over the final 2:26 and the UC Santa Cruz led 46-34 at the half.
The Slugs blew the game open with a 17-4 run to open the second half. Leah Parrish overpowered one Bearcat to put back a miss. Ortiz sliced her way through Willamette on two beautiful drives. Ashley Holmes and Sarah Mackey drilled long 3 point shots. With 13 minutes to go, the Slugs lead was 61-38. The only question was the final score. Coach Kent substituted freely and Cristina Rimicci score 8 points down the stretch to send the Bearcats home on the short end of a 77-51 score.
The Slugs upped their record to 6-4 and face Berry College on Tuesday in a second round matchup of the Hampton Inn Classic III.