SANTA CRUZ (12-2) - UC Santa Cruz came home for one game as they took on Chapman University at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Panthers used a 21-8 second quarter to defeat the Banana Slugs 69-53, the second in a row for the Banana Slugs.
In their last game, the Banana Slugs lost 53-43 to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks on Thursday while the Panthers won 87-43 over Finlandia University on November 24th in Whittier.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with neither team gaining a larger lead than four. The Banana Slugs held their largest lead of the game at 4-0, on a Kaitlin Stephenson layup with 8:44 left in the quarter. The Panthers would gain their largest lead of the quarter at three, at 7-4, on a Jaime Hum-Nishikado three pointer with 6:57 left in the quarter. The two teams were tied at 16-16 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Panthers would take the lead for good, at 18-16, on a Lucy Criswell jumper with 8:56 left in the half. The Panthers would gain a double digit lead, at 30-19, on a Eleni Giotinis jumper with 4:29 left and gained their largest lead of the quarter at 37-21, on a Marissa Dunn three pointer. The Panthers led 37-24 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs worked their way back into the ballgame and start the quarter on a 12-4 run, capped by a Kim Tom free throw with 4:43 left in the quarter, to trim the Panthers' lead to five at 41-36. The Panthers finished the quarter on an 8-1 run, capped by a Hum-Nishikado layup with twenty seconds left in the quarter, to give the Panthers a 49-37 lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers would hold the Banana Slugs at arms' length. The Banana Slugs would come as close as twelve, at 52-40, on a CJ Catina three pointer with 8:27 left. The Panthers would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at eighteen on two occasions; the second occasion at 69-51 on a Giotinis layup with 1:03 left.
Catina had a game-high twelve points to lead the Banana Slugs. Katie Young had eleven points and Stephenson and Tom had nine points apiece in the loss. Stephenson also had a season high seventeen rebounds. Jaryn Fajardo also had a game-high twelve points for the Panthers.
UC Santa Cruz's defense forced thirteen Panther turnovers scoring ten points off the turnovers while the Panthers' defense forced twenty-seven turnovers by UC Santa Cruz, scoring twenty-nine points off the turnovers. The Banana Slugs shot 34% (18-53) from the field, 41.2% (7-17) from the three-point line and were 47.6% (10-21) from the free throw line. The Panthers shot 43.1% (31-72) from the field, 22.2% (2-9) from the three-point line and 55.6% (5-9) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Chapman 46-37 while the Panthers had twenty-eight more second chance points (36-8) than did the Banana Slugs.
The Banana Slugs will now play their next two games in the state of Oregon,starting next Saturday as they take on George Fox University in Newberg at 4 pm.