TYLER (3-4) – For the first time in school history, UC Santa Cruz's women's basketball played in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship. Their opponent and the host team was NCAA Division III #6 University of Texas-Tyler. The Patriots would lead for the majority of the ballgame and won the first round matchup 83-64.
Both teams won their last game. UC Santa Cruz won 73-57 over Salem College on Sunday in Winston-Salem while the Patriots defeated Howard Payne University 77-70 in Tyler last Saturday.
In the first quarter, the Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at two, at 2-0, on a Madison Van Zandt layup with 7:59 left in the quarter. The Patriots would take the lead for good, at 5-4, on a D'Onna Matthews jumper with 5:54 left. The Patriots would gain their largest lead of the quarter at six, at 15-9, on a Re'Elle Miller layup with 1:23 left in the quarter. The Patriots led 17-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Patriots would continue to expand their lead. The Banana Slugs would come as close as five, at 19-14, after a pair of Tyler Stewart free throws with 9:27 left in the half. The Patriots would expand their lead to double digits, at 30-19, on a Makenzi May three pointer with 5:34 left in the half. The Patriots would gain their largest lead of the half at eighteen, at 38-20, on a Miller free throw with 1:09 left in the half. The Patriots would lead 38-23 at the halftime break.
In the third quarter, the Patriots would hold the Banana Slugs at arms' length. The Banana Slugs would start the quarter on an 11-2 run, capped by a Katie Young layup with 7:13 left, to make the score 40-34. The Patriots would expand their lead to thirteen, at 55-42, on a Michelle Obach jumper with forty seven seconds left in the quarter. The Patriots would lead 55-42 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots would continue to keep the Banana Slugs at bay. The Banana Slugs would come as close as seven, at 55-48, on an Ashley Holmes layup with 8:13 left. The Patriots would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at twenty two on two occasions; the second occasion was at 83-61 on a Brittany Johnson free throw with eleven seconds left. The Patriots would win 83-64.
Van Zandt and Young both had fifteen points apiece to lead the Banana Slugs. Miller had a game high twenty-three points, off the bench, for the Patriots. Stewart had ten points and Holmes had seven points in the loss. Matthews had twenty one points, May had fourteen and Obach had eleven points for the Patriots.
The Banana Slugs shot 40.4% (21-52) from the field, 33.3% (8-24) from the three-point line and was 66.7% (14-21) from the free throw line. The Patriots shot 43.8% (28-64) from the field, 30% (6-20) from the three-point line and 80.8% (21-26) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced nineteen Patriot turnovers scoring fifteen points off the turnovers while the Patriots' defense forced twenty-three turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring twenty-six points off the turnovers. Texas-Tyler outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 41-38 and the Patriots had twenty two more points off the bench (42-20) than did UC Santa Cruz.
The 2015-2016 season for the Banana Slugs concludes with a 15-12 record. This season is the third consecutive season with at least fifteen victories for the Banana Slugs.
The team finished with 172 three-pointers this season, setting a new school record. Thirteen different players hit at least one trey.