SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Leah Parrish poured in 24 points, snatched 13 rebounds and dished out 6 assists to lead UC Santa Cruz to a 68-55 victory over the University of La Verne and a three game sweep of the Hampton Inn Classic.
Parrish set the tone early by scoring the first six points of the game. The Slugs appeared to be on their way to a comfortable win after Ryane Ortiz drilled a three pointer and Sarah Crane, Erin Joo and Lashay Alexander made layups. The Leopards, however, would not go away and knotted the score at 15 at the 9 minute mark.
A 3 pointer by Sarah Fitzgerald and two more baskets by Parrish kept the Leopards at bay. A fine post move by Crane gave the Slugs a 26-21 lead late in the first half but once again La Verne responded. The Leopards forced 3 turnovers over the last 2 minutes and tied the score at 28 at half time.
Ortiz got the Slugs rolling in the second half by draining 1 of her 4 three pointers on the night. Parrish banged home two more jumpers. Ortiz drilled another three and the Slugs led 40-34. Sarah Mackey dropped in four of her 8 second half points. Taylor Willis hit a sweet pull up jumper to put Santa Cruz ahead 48-41 with 10 minutes to go.
The next two minutes decided the game as the Slugs built an insurmountable 52-41 lead behind jumps shots by Fitzgerald and Parrish. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes but when Mackey and Erin Joo made contested layups the Slugs led 63-52. Down the stretch the Leopards fouled, but the Slugs made enough clutch free throws to seal the victory
Next up the 8-4 Slugs travel to Washington for a rematch with Puget Sound.