SANTA CRUZ (11-11) – UC Santa Cruz finished up their season opening two-game homestand as they took on NAIA member CSU Maritime Academy at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Banana Slugs hit better than 45% from the field and won 77-71 over the Keelhaulers.
In their last game, the Banana Slugs lost 74-71 to NAIA member Oregon Institute of Technology on Friday in Santa Cruz while the Keelhaulers won 101-27 over California Miramar University on Friday in Vallejo.
In the first quarter, after Miryam Jimenez of the Keelhaulers made a free throw to tie the game at 5-5 with 5:09 left in the quarter, the Banana Slugs went on a 9-4 run, capped by an Ashley Kowack free throw, to give the Banana Slugs their largest lead of the quarter at 14-9. The Keelhaulers would respond with an 8-0 quarter-ending run, capped by Samantha James three-pointer with fifty-six seconds left in the quarter to give the Keelhaulers a 17-14 lead at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the Keelhaulers would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at five, at 21-16, on a Jimenez layup with 9:03 left in the half. From that point, the Banana Slugs went on a 15-8 run, capped by Kowack's three-pointer with 3:57 left in the half, to give the Banana Slugs the lead for good at 31-29. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the half at six, at 36-30, on a Katilin Stephenson layup with 1:58 left in the half. The Banana Slugs led 37-34 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would hold the Keelhaulers at arm's length. UCSC would gain their largest lead of the quarter at six, at 40-34, after a CJ Catina free throw with 9:10 left. The Keelhaulers however tied the game twice in the quarter; the second occasion at 51-51 after a Jimenez free throw with 1:47 left. The Banana Slugs led 57-55 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs started the quarter on an 8-0 run, capped by a Maddie Brauer layup with 6:37 left, for a 65-56 lead. The Banana Slugs gained a double digit lead, at 68-58, on a Catina three-pointer with 6:03 left. The Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the ballgame at 75-58 on a Stephenson jumper with 4:18 left before the Keelhaulers ended the game on a 13-2 run.
Kowack had a game-high twenty-three points off the bench to lead the Banana Slugs. Kiara Warren had eighteen points for the Keelhaulers. Catina and Kaylee Murphy had ten points apiece in the win. James had seventeen points and Katherine Freitas had fourteen for the Keelhaulers.
The Banana Slugs shot 45.8% (27-59) from the field, 32% (8-25) from the three-point line and were 57.7% (15-26) from the free throw line. The Keelhaulers shot 46% (23-50) from the field, 23.1% (3-13) from the three-point line and 62.9% (22-35) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty-two Keelhauler turnovers scoring thirty points off the turnovers while the Keelhaulers' defense forced seventeen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring nine points off the turnovers. California Maritime outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 39-34 while the Banana Slugs had sixteen more points off the bench (43-27) than did the Keelhaulers.
The Banana Slugs will travel to Southern California for their next game as they will take on Division III rival California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks Saturday. Tipoff is set for 3 pm.