WINSTON SALEM- Behind a balanced offense, the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs rolled over host and third-seeded Salem College 73-57 to win the Great South Athletic Conference tournament.
The win gives UCSC (15-11) their first NCAA Tournament trip in school history via the league's automatic bid.
The game opened with the Slugs up 6-0 quickly courtesy of back-to-back Ashley Holmes three-pointers, continuing her fine form from Saturday's five-for-five performance. The hosts came back with a 23-7 run the rest of the quarter to lead by ten.
Tamara Blanton had a basket and freethrow to stretch the lead to 26-13 early in the second for the Spirits' biggest lead of the game. The Banana Slugs answered with a 18-4 run, punctuated by two straight baskets by Madison Van Zandt to give the lead at 31-30.
Leading 37-31 at halftime, UCSC put the game away with a 22-12 third quarter.
The teams' shooting percentages were silmilar. UCSC was 39.4% ( 28-71) while Salem shot 37.5% ( 21-56). The difference was long-range shooting.UCSC was 34.3% for three-pointers with season highs of 12 made on 35 attempts while Salem was just 3-9.
UCSC also enjoyed a 41-31 rebounding edge, led by Van Zandt, Poole and Trina Torres all with eight.
The Spirits were led by GSAC player of the year Quntashea Lewis with 24 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes played.
The Banana Slugs await the NCAA announcements Monday at 11:30 am to find out their destination.