SANTA CRUZ (12-3) –UC Santa Cruz played their first home game since the middle of November as they started the UCSC Holiday Classic against University of La Verne. The Banana Slugs used a strong second half to defeat the Leopards 71-51 and gained their first home win of the season.
Both teams lost their last game. UC Santa Cruz lost 76-51 to Claremont Mudd Scripps on Saturday in Claremont while the Leopards lost 90-64 to NAIA member University of Antelope Valley on November 22nd in Lancaster.
In the first quarter, the Banana Slugs started the game on a 6-2 spurt capped by a Katie Young three pointer with 8:25 left in the quarter. The four point lead was the largest of the quarter for the Banana Slugs. The Leopards would go on an 11-0 run, capped by a pair of Karli Kato free throws, to give the Leopards the lead at 13-6. The Leopards would gain their largest of lead of the quarter at eight, at 16-8, on an Erika Pagkalinawan free throw with 4:27 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would cut into the Leopards' lead using a 6-2 spurt, capped by a Kim Tom layup with fifty five seconds left, to make the score 18-14 in favor of the Leopards. The Leopards led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Leopards would hold the Banana Slugs at arms' length. The Banana Slugs would tie the game at 22-22 on a Sonya Ivanovic three pointer with 6:18 left in the half. The Leopards would gain their largest lead of the game at nine on two occasions; the second occasion at 31-22 on a Brianna Bishop three pointer with 3:21 left in the half. The Leopards led 35-31 at the halftime intermission.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would get back into the ballgame. The Banana Slugs would score the first five points of the quarter to give themselves a one point lead, at 36-35, with 8:18 left in the quarter. The Leopards would take the lead back at 37-36 on a Pagkalinawan layup with 7:44 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would take the lead for good at 41-39 on a Tyler Stewart jumper with 5:33 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would gain a double digit lead, at 51-41, on a Tyler Stewart three pointer with 1:37 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the quarter at 53-43 on a Michelle Poole layup with 1:03 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs led 55-45 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs would continue to expand their lead. The closest the Leopards would come would be eleven, at 58-47, on a Pagakalinawan jumper with 9:33 left in the game. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 12-2 run, capped by a Katherine Mauldin layup with 2:07 left, to give the Banana Slugs their largest lead of the ballgame at 70-49.
Katie Young had a game high fourteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Noelle Cobb had ten points for the Leopards. Tyler Stewart had thirteen points and Tom, off the bench, had twelve points in the win. Bishop had nine points and Kato had eight points for the Leopards.
The Banana Slugs shot 36.7% (29-79) from the field, 32.1% (9-28) from the three-point line and was 44.4% (4-9) from the free throw line. The Leopards shot 35.7% (20-56) from the field, 16.7% (2-12) from the three-point line and 75% (9-12) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced sixteen Leopard turnovers scoring twenty one points off the turnovers while the Leopards' defense forced nine turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring fifteen points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded University of La Verne 51-39 and the Banana Slugs had seventeen more points off the bench (33-16) than did University of La Verne.
The Banana Slugs will finish their time at the UCSC Holiday Classic tomorrow as they take on Pomona-Pitzer at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Tip-off is set for 4 pm.