Ortiz Lead Slugs back from the Brink
SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Ryane Ortiz poured in 16 second half points to lead a UC Santa Cruz comeback from an 18 point first half time deficit to defeat Cal State Maritime 68-61. The Slugs, who may have underestimated the 2-15 Keelhaulers, struggled in the first half. Sloppy defense, poor shooting (26%) and 10 turnovers contributed to the Keelhauler lead. Maritime deserves credit for taking advantage of the Slug errors. Led by Javier Brantley and Gabrielle Davis (16 points each) Maritime opened a 38-21 half time lead. Santa Cruz did have a few bright first have moments as Lashay Alexander brought the crowd to its feet with back to back swats of Maritime shots and Trina Torres electrified the crowd with a steal and a difficult finish.
This is a gritty Banana Slug bunch. The Slugs came out firing in the second half as Ortiz hit 3 consecutive long range bombs to ignite a 17-3 Slug run that cut the Maritime lead to 41-38 with 13 minutes to go. The Slugs would need more than Ortiz to finish off Maritime. A crucial 3 pointer by Sarah Fitzgerald halted one Maritime rally. Leah Parrish (10 points), Amanda Spence (9 points), and Jean Dulay (8 points) all hit key baskets to propel the Slugs to a 58-55 lead with just 2 minutes to play. Late defensive plays by Taylor Willis and Geena Giovannetti sealed the Keelhaulers fate.
The Slugs need one more win to have their first winning season since 1995. Next up is a road game at the University of Redlands on January 19th.