SANTA CRUZ (12-3) – UC Santa Cruz finished up a three game homestand as they took on NAIA member Pacific Union College at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Banana Slugs defeated the Pioneers 83-44.
In the first quarter, the Banana Slugs started the game on a 4-0 spurt capped by a Jenna Sparks layup with 8:22 left in the quarter. The Pioneers would come as close as two, at 4-2, on a Faith Williams layup with 8:08 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would gain a double digit lead, at 18-8, on a Maddie Brauer free throw with 1:48 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the quarter at fourteen on two occasions; the second occasion at 24-10 after a pair of Kaylee Murphy free throws with forty two seconds left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs led 24-11 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Banana Slugs would hold the Pioneers at arms' length. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the quarter at nineteen on two occasions; the second occasion at 32-13 on a Maddie Brauer jumper with 6:37 left in the half. The Pioneers came as close as fourteen, at 35-21, on an Alexus Genochio free throw with 3:18 left in the half. The Banana Slugs led 39-23 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would extend their lead. The Banana Slugs would start the quarter on a 9-0 run, capped by an Ashley Kowack three pointer with 7:52 left in the quarter, to give the Banana Slugs a 48-23 lead. The Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the quarter at thirty-four, at 64-30, on a three pointer by Kowack. The Banana Slugs led 64-36 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs would continue to pull away. The Pioneers would come as close as twenty-eight on three occasions; the third occasion at 68-40 on a Marielle Tuazon layup with 6:28 left. The Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the ballgame at thirty-nine, at 81-42, after a pair of Alaina Alvarez free throws with forty-four seconds left. The win would mark the Banana Slugs' third in a row.
Kowack, off the bench, had a game high twenty-four points to lead the Banana Slugs. Williams had thirteen points for the Pioneers. Brauer and Savannah Henson had ten points apiece in the win. Tuazon had ten points and Molly Hargon had six for the Pioneers.
The Banana Slugs shot 38% (27-71) from the field, 39.3% (11-28) from the three-point line and were 52.9% (18-34) from the free throw line. The Pioneers shot 34.7% (17-49) from the field, 0% (0-13) from the three-point line and 52.6% (10-19) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty-nine Pioneer turnovers, while the Pioneers' defense foced fourteen turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Pacific Union 51-37 and the Banana Slugs had twenty-three more points off turnovers (29-6) than did the Pioneers.
The Banana Slugs will travel to Southern California for two games. Their next game is Saturday as they will take on Pomona-Pitzer in Pomona. Tipoff is set for 5 pm.