SANTA CRUZ (12-16) – UC Santa Cruz started the Hyatt December Classic as they took on Luther College at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Banana Slugs hit over 80% from the free throw line as the Banana Slugs won 79-69.
In the first quarter, the Norse started the quarter outscoring the Banana Slugs 4-2. The two-point lead for the Norse was their largest of the ballgame. The Banana Slugs would go on a 10-5 run, capped by a CJ Catina three pointer with 3:17 left in the quarter, to give the Banana Slugs the lead for good at 12-9. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the quarter at nine, at 20-11, on a Catina three pointer with fourteen seconds left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs led 20-13 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Banana Slugs would expand their lead. The Banana Slugs would gain a double-digit lead at eleven, at 24-13, on a Catina layup with 8:44 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the half at fourteen, at 41-27, on a Maddie Brauer three pointer as time expired in the half.
In the third quarter, the Banana Slugs would continue to expand their lead. The closest the Norse would come would be seven, at 41-34, on a Sarah Holtz layup with 8:06 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would then go on an 18-2 run, capped by a pair of Ashley Kowack free throws with 3:28 left in the quarter, to give the Banana Slugs their largest lead of the ballgame at twenty-three at 59-36. The Norse would respond with an 11-0 quarter-ending run to trim the Banana Slugs' lead to 59-47 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs would hold the Norse at arm's length. The Norse would trim the Banana Slugs' lead to single digits, at 61-52, after a pair of Laura Hamilton free throws with 8:11 left. The Norse would come as close as two, at 71-69, with 2:28 left on a Sarah Holtz free throw. The Banana Slugs would end the game on an 8-0 run. The win ended the Banana Slugs' two game losing streak.
Kaylee Murphy had a game high nineteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Holtz had fifteen points for the Norse. Kowack had eighteen, Catina had seventeen and Savannah Henson had eleven in the win. Hamilton had fourteen points and Anna Edel had ten for the Norse.
The Banana Slugs shot 31.2% (24-77) from the field, 32.1% (9-28) from the three-point line and were 81.5% (22-27) from the free throw line. The Norse shot 36.6% (26-71) from the field, 20% (4-20) from the three-point line and 61.9% (13-21) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty-five Norse turnovers scoring twenty-six points off the turnovers while the Norse defense forced twenty-one turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring nineteen points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Luther 59-47 and the Banana Slugs had six more second chance points (20-14) than did the Norse.
The next game for the Banana Slugs will be tomorrow as they will take on University of Redlands at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Tip-off is set for 6 pm.