CSUF women’s basketball drops season series against UC Riverside on senior night

In Sports, Women's Basketball

A poor second half proved to be overwhelming for the CSUF women’s basketball team as they fell 75-67 to UC Riverside in their final regular season game. In their final game at Titan Gym, seniors Mia Gallo, Daeja Smith, Hannah Thompson, Jade Vega and Lauren Nubla all started in the game for CSUF.

The game started off as a back-and-forth battle with the Highlanders leading 10-9 halfway through the opening quarter. The Titans’ offense then exploded, going on a 14-2 run to end the quarter with a 23-12 lead. Titans’ forward Carolyn Gill shot 3-for-3 from the field and combined with Vega for 12 of the Titans’ first-quarter points.

The Titans began the second quarter with two Amiee Book 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 17 points. This lead would be the largest one in the game.

The Highlanders then fought their way back with an 18-10 run to end the half, cutting the deficit to nine. Even the Titans’ bench was outscoring the Highlanders, 24-7, but doubled UCR in turnovers, 10-5.

The Highlanders carried their momentum into the second half by starting the third quarter on a 10-3 run, with a major contribution from Highlander Malou De Kergret’s shooting back-to-back 3-pointers. The Titans did not find an answer to stop Highlanders forward Marina Ewodo, who scored nine points in the third quarter. Titan forward Amiee Book was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, leading the team with 14 points to end the quarter.

The Titans were up 53-52 to begin the final quarter and a layup by Kergret gave the Highlanders their first lead at 56-54 since the first quarter. The Titans challenged their free-throw shooting but the Highlanders shot 8-for-11 (72.7) and ultimately won the game. Along with Book, four other Titans finished the game with double-digit scoring: Daeja Smith (12), Jade Vega (15), Raina Perez (11) and Carolyn Gill (10).

CSUF head coach Jeff Harada was disappointed they could not deliver a win for their graduating seniors, but looked at the positives his team had in the game.

“Well I thought we’re doing the things we talked about as part of our game plan, we played the ball inside, we were touching the post. We were attacking the basket, we were getting the ball to open shooters,” Coach Harada said.

Heading into the conference tournament, Coach Harada needs his team to be more consistent defensively and offensively in order to make a run next week.

“It’s effort. I tell this team a lot defensively and rebounding wise, those are two things don’t take a ton of talent or skills. It’s mostly effort. If you give effort you should get a rebound, if you give effort you should be able to get a stop; it’s a mentality. We just got to be consistent on those ends and have our defense and our effort fuel our offense,” Harada said.

CSUF finished the regular season sixth in the Big West and will play rival Long Beach State in the opening round of the conference tournament Tuesday, March 12 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and will tip-off at 8:30 p.m.

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