SANTA CRUZ (12-21) – UC Santa Cruz started their portion of the Hyatt Place December Classic as they took on Williams College. The Ephs hit 40% of their shots on the evening and defeated the Banana Slugs 62-59.
In the first quarter, the two teams traded baskets to start the quarter. The Banana Slugs would take the lead, at 9-6, on a Savannah Henson three-pointer with 7:38 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would take a double-digit lead, at 21-11, on a CJ Catina three pointer with 1:41 left in the quarter and took their largest lead of the ballgame at 23-12 after an Ashley Kowack free throw with one-minute left. The Banana Slugs lead 23-14 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Ephs cut into the Banana Slugs lead. The Ephs went on a 15-0 run, capped by Maggie Meehan's layup, to give the Ephs the lead for good at 29-23. The closest the Banana Slugs would come would be one, at 29-28, on a Henson free throw with 3:26 left. The Ephs would gain their largest lead of the quarter at 37-30 on a Meehan layup with 0:16 left.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would come as close as four on two occasions; the second occasion at 42-38 on a Henson three-pointer with 7:07 left in the quarter. The Ephs would gain a double-digit lead, at 54-44, on a Lauren Vostal layup with nine seconds left in the quarter. The Ephs led 54-44 at the end of three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs would chip away at the Ephs' lead. The Banana Slugs started the quarter on an 8-2 run, capped by a Catina three pointer with 8:20 left, to trim the lead to four at 56-52. The Banana Slugs would trim the Ephs' lead to three, at 62-59, on a Kowack three pointer with 1:51 left. After an Ephs' turnover, Catina would fire the game-tying three but her shot was just long as the Ephs won.
Catina had a game-high sixteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Kowack had fourteen and Henson had eleven in the loss.
Meehan also had sixteen points for the Ephs. Gabby Martin had twelve and Vostal had nine for the Ephs.
The Banana Slugs shot 29.3% (17-58) from the field, 31% (9-29) from the three-point line and were 69.6% (16-23) from the free throw line. The Ephs shot 40% (24-60) from the field, 14.3% (2-14) from the three-point line and 80% (12-15) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced fifteen Ephs turnovers, scoring eleven points off the turnovers while the Ephs' defense forced twelve turnovers scoring thirteen points off the turnovers. Williams outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 44-39 and the Ephs had thirty more points in the paint (38-8) than did the Banana Slugs.
The Banana Slugs will have little time to reflect about tonight's game as their next game is tomorrow as they take on University of Northwestern at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Tip-off is set for 6 pm.