LOS ANGELES, CA -- UC Santa Cruz travel to LA to face two tough teams, played two nearly identical games and left town with two nearly identical results losing 54-48 on Friday night to Redlands and 68-58 on Saturday. The games were eerily similar as the Slugs rallied from double digit second half defecits but missed opportunities, and turnovers would put victories just out of reach.
On Friday night at Redlands, the Slugs played without the services of leading scorer and rebounder Sarah Mackey. Santa Cruz played terrific first half defense holding Redlands to just 26 points. This effort did not provide the anticipated lead as the Slugs missed key shots down the stretch and held only a 27-26 half time lead. The teams traded baskets early in the second half. The game changed at 15 minutes mark as a slew of Slug turnovers turned a 32-30 lead to a 46-35 deficit. The Slugs rallied behind a steal and bucket by Taylor Willis, a tough drive by Sarah Fitzgerald and a long 3 pointer by Geena Giovannetti to cut the lead to 48-44 with 2 minutes to go. The Slugs stopped the Bulldogs on the next three possessions behind the spectacular defense of Taylor and Erin Joo Santa Cruz let the opportunity slip away as they missed several open shots. The Slugs were forced to foul and the Bulldogs hit enough free throws down the stretch to put the game on ice. Leah Parrish played an excellent game finishing with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
On Saturday the Slugs travelled to Occidental for a rematch against the Tigers. The Slugs defeated the Tigers in the first matchup63-62. This game would be a different story. The Tigers pressed the Slugs from start to finish but the Slugs hung in there trailing just 24-22 with 3 minutes to go in the first half. The pressure finally got to the Slugs as the Tigers closed the first half with 5 straight points to take a 31-26 half time lead. The second half started the same way the first half ended as the Tigers who forced 19 turnovers raced to a 50-36 lead with 12 minutes to go. Once again the Slug rallied. Long distance shooting by Ryane Ortiz (13 points) and Amanda Spence (7 points) closed the gap to 56-52 with 4:11 to play. The game turned against the Slugs when a questionable foul was called on the Slugs as two players collided going after a loose ball.. The Tiger's Makenzie Brandow, who finished with 26, made both free throws. The Tigers then converted the Slugs 19th turnover into a basket and this one was history. Lashay Alexander played an outstanding game posting her first double-double as she scored 15 points and ripped down 10 rebounds.