SANTA CRUZ (1-23) – The Banana Slugs played their NAIA third opponent in a row as they took on UC Merced at West Field House. The game was back and forth and in the end, the Banana Slugs came out on top 57-47.
Both teams won their last game. UC Santa Cruz won 82-56 over CSU Maritime Academy last Saturday in Santa Cruz while the Golden Bobcats defeated La Sierra University 66-53 in Riverside on Thursday.
In the first quarter, the two teams would trade baskets for the first half of the quarter. The Banana Slugs would take the lead, at 6-4, on a layup by Trina Torres with 5:19 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs from that point the Banana Slugs would go on a 13-6 run, capped by a Torres three pointer with eighteen seconds left, to make the score 19-10. The Banana Slugs would lead 19-10 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Golden Bobcats would trim into the Banana Slugs' lead. The Golden Bobcats would come as close as four, at 21-17, on a Shelby Howard three pointer with 6:04 left. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 12-2 run, capped by a Tyler Stewart three pointer with 3:17 left, to make the score 31-19. The twelve point lead was the largest of the ballgame for the Banana Slugs. The Banana Slugs would lead 34-24 at the halftime break.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would hold the Golden Bobcats at arm's length. The Golden Bobcats would trim the Banana Slugs lead to five on two occasions; the second occasion coming at 42-37 with thirty three seconds left on an Allison Wisdom layup. The Banana Slugs led 42-37 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs' lead would continue to dwindle. The Golden Bobcats would start the quarter on a 5-0 run, capped by a Jecenia Trinidad layup with 7:42 left, which gave the Golden Bobcats their largest lead of the ballgame at 43-42. The Banana Slugs would gain the lead for good on their next possession as Jean Dulay would make a jumper to make the score 44-43 with 7:18 left. The Banana Slugs would extend their lead back to double digits at 57-47 on a Tyler Stewart free throw with sixteen seconds left. The Banana Slugs would win by the 57-47 tally for their third straight win.
Ashley Holmes and Torres both had a game high twelve points to lead the Banana Slugs. Howard also had twelve points for the Golden Bobcats. Stewart had ten points in the win. Courtney Danna and Jecenia Trinidad both had nine points for the Golden Bobcats.
The Banana Slugs shot 32.8% (20-61) from the field, 34.5% (10-29) from the three-point line and was 70% (7-10) from the free throw line. The Golden Bobcats shot 33.3% (20-60) from the field, 27.3% (3-11) from the three-point line and 66.7% (4-6) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced eighteen Golden Bobcat turnovers scoring fourteen points off the turnovers while the Golden Bobcats' defense forced twenty-nine turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring twenty five points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded UC Merced 54-30 and had eleven more second chance points (11-0) than did the Golden Bobcats.
The next game for the Banana Slugs will be next Saturday against NCCAA opponent Bethesda University of California in Los Angeles. Game time is set for 7 pm.