SANTA CRUZ, CA -- UC Santa Cruz opened the season in the Hampton Inn Classic at Kaiser Permanente Arena home of the NBA D-League Santa Cruz Warriors Led by Sarah Mackey's 22 points, the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs powered to 83-51 win over the St. Catherine Wildcats The Slugs received contributions from a number of players including 8 points and 8 rebounds from Trina Torres, 9 points and 7 rebounds from both Leah Parrish and Geena Giovannetti and 8 points from Ryane Ortiz. Solid Free throw shooting by the Slugs also played a key role in the victory as Santa Cruz converted on 30 of 40 from the charity stripe
Both teams struggled early trying to adjust to shooting in a larger arena as the Wildcats opened an early 14-9 lead midway through the first half. A terrific drive by Torres and back to back FTs by Erin Joo and new comer Sara Crane cut the led to 14-13.. Strong defense by Parrish and Taylor Willis keyed a late 6-0 run as the Slugs stretched the led to 28-22. Giovannetti closed out the scoring with a long 3 and the Slugs went into half time with a 31-22 lead.
Coach Todd Kent made a key second half adjustment utilizing a half court trapping defense where everyone on the floor was at least 5'9'. The trap flustered the smaller Wildcats as the Slugs went on a 15-4 run which blew the game wide open. With the defense rolling, the offensive came to life. Mackey dominated the inside and scored 6 quick points. Joo swished a three. Parrish converted 7 consecutive free throws and Crane, Torres and Ortiz all made difficult layups. Ashley Holmes added 6 points late to put the finishing touch on this Slug Victory. .
The Slugs resume play Saturday against Whitter College