SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Two weeks after the Banana Slugs fell to NCCAA opponent Bethesda University of California at Kaiser Permanente Arena, the two teams played again at Kaiser Permanente Arena and the result was much different. Every available player played for the Banana Slugs as they won the game 57-34.
Both teams were coming off losses in their last contest. UC Santa Cruz was coming off a 60-58 loss to Bethesda on January 24th in Santa Cruz and Bethesda lost their last game 58-41 to CSU San Marcos on January 31st to CSU San Marcos in Oceanside.
The Flames held their largest lead of the ballgame at 2-0 after a Jonalynn Fuertes layup with 19:35 left in the half. After the basket, the Banana Slugs would go on an 11-0 run, capped by a Sarah Fitzgerald three pointer with 16:48 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would expand their lead to double digits, at 15-4, on a Sarah Mackey jumper with 13:28 left in the half. The Flames would trim the lead to five, at 15-10, on an Ahteana Jones layup with 9:17 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the half at fifteen on two occasions; the second occasion coming with twenty two seconds left, at 32-17, on a Mackey jumper. Jessica Smith's layup attempt at the end of the half was blocked by Lashay Alexander and the Banana Slugs took a 32-17 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Banana Slugs would hold their double digit lead through the entire second half. The Flames would come as close as twelve, at 32-20, with 19:15 left on a Jones layup. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead at twenty five, at 57-32, after two Mackey free throws with 2:43 remaining. Fuertes would score the final basket for either team with 1:52 to make the score 57-34. The Banana Slugs won 57-34 over Bethesda.
Mackey had a double double with a game high nineteen points and eleven rebounds. Three players (Jones, Ahteana Jones and Lisette Longomo) had six points apiece for the Flames. Geena Giovanetti had fourteen points and Leah Parrish had a double double with eleven points and a game high fifteen rebounds. Fuertes and Jalen Olguin each had four points for the Flames.
The Banana Slugs shot 28.2% (20-71) from the field, 16.7% (5-30) from the three point line and was 63.2% (12-19) from the free throw line. The Flames shot 20% (13-65) from the field, 13.3% (2-15) from the three point line and 46.2% (6-13) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced nineteen Flame turnovers scoring thirteen points off the turnovers while the Flames' defense forced fourteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring seven points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Bethesda 56-53 but the Banana Slugs had nine more assists (14-5) than did the Flames.
The next game for the Banana Slugs will be next Saturday as they start a two game road trip to the state of Wisconsin. The Banana Slugs will take on Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown. Tipoff is set for 3 pm.