SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Santa Cruz struggled all year with physical teams and faced another tough matchup with the Cal State San Marcos Cougars. This game was close early as Leah Parrish opened the scoring with a put back basket. Geena Giovannetti converted a back cut layup and Trina Torres stole the ball and converted a tough layup as the Slugs trailed only 12-8 with just under 12 minutes to go in the first half. This was the point that the Cougars stepped up the physical play. San Marcos picked up the pressure all over the court and quickly went on a 18-4 run increasing the lead to 30-12. The Slugs fought back behind the tenacious defense of Taylor Willis and Trina and cut the deficit to 33-20. The Slugs had opportunities to further reduce the lead in the last minute but back to back jumpers bounced off the rim.
The second half started out similar to how the first half ended. The teams traded baskets as Trina, who led the Slugs with 10 points, made another difficult layup. Leah made 1 of 2 free throws and Sarah Fitzgerald drilled a jumper as the Slugs trailed 38-26 with 15 minutes to play. The next 7 minutes would determine the outcome of this game. The Cougars outscored the Slugs 18-0 over those seven minutes. Simply put, the Cougars beat the Slugs in every phase of the game as the Slugs had no answer for the speed and physical play of the Cougars. Baskets by Jean Dulay, Trina, and Ryane Ortiz closed out the scoring as the Slugs fell 61-40.
Although the Slugs lost the season finale, this should not put a damper on an solid season. Although riddled with injuries to key players the Slugs finished the season with a 14-10 record. This was the first winning season in 16 years. None of the 13 players will graduate and only three of the returning players Mel Barooni, Ryane Ortiz and Taylor Willis will be seniors. The future does indeed look bright for the Slugs.