SANTA CRUZ (2-9) – UC Santa Cruz finished up a two game homestand as they took on NAIA member Pacific Union College at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Banana Slugs had four players in double figures and defeated the Pioneers 76-51.
In the first quarter, the Pioneers started the ballgame on a 6-2 spurt capped by a Natalie Stephanchuck layup with 7:25 left in the quarter. The four point lead was the largest of the ballgame for the Pioneers. The Banana Slugs would respond with a 9-0, capped by a Michelle Poole layup with 5:10 left in the quarter, to give the Banana Slugs the lead for good at 11-6. Poole, the defending Association of Division III Independents Women's Basketball Player of the Week, had nine of the twenty points scored by the Banana Slugs in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the quarter at eight on two occasions; the second occasion at 20-12 on a Jenna Sparks free throw with thirty three seconds left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs led 20-14 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Banana Slugs would expand their lead. The Banana Slugs started the quarter on a 12-0 run, capped by a Sonya Ivanovic free throw with 6:04 left in the half, to give the Banana Slugs a 32-14 lead. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the half at twenty on two occasions; the second occasion at 39-19 on a pair of Ivanovic free throws with 4:04 left in the half. The Pioneers would come as close as eleven, at 41-30, on an Alexis Lyers three pointer with three seconds left in the half. The Banana Slugs led 41-30 at the halftime intermission. In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would start the quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a Tyler Stewart layup with 7:48 left in the quarter, to give the Banana Slugs a 48-30 lead. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the quarter at twenty three, at 60-37, on a Katie Young three pointer with 3:03 left. The Pioneers would come as close as nineteen on two occasions; the second occasion at 60-41 on an Imari Clinton jumper with 1:10 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs led 62-41 at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs started the quarter on a 9-0 run, capped by a Tyler Stewart layup with 5:37 left, to give the Banana Slugs their largest lead of the ballgame, at thirty, at 71-41. The Pioneers would come as close as twenty four, at 71-47, on a Celina Ewing three pointer with 2:37 left. The win marked the third consecutive for the Banana Slugs.
Earlier this week, Poole was named the AD3I Women's Basketball Player of the Week. She pulled down her fifth double-double of the year in the Banana Slugs' 74-61 victory over Bethesda. The senior finished with a team-high 18 points and ten rebounds, while adding two steals and a block in 33 minutes. The forward shot 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the floor in the contest and leads the Banana Slugs in scoring on the year.
The Banana Slugs will now start their final road trip of the 2016-17 regular season. The next game for the Banana Slugs is Saturday as they take on NCCAA member Bethesda University of California at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. Tip off is set for 5:30 pm.