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Women's Basketball: Opens Gilcrest tournament with a Win against Santa Barbara

Amber Hart jumps center for the Bear Cubs vs Merced
Amber Hart jumps center for the Bear Cubs vs Merced

            The Bear Cubs started the day with a five-and-a-half hour drive, some of the way through the rain, to Visalia for the College of the Sequoias 4-day 16-team North-South Tom Gilcrest Invitational Tournament. Twelve hours later, since they played the last game of the day, the Bear Cubs had escaped with a tougher-than-anticipated win over the Vaqueros of Santa Barbara City College. The Bear Cubs played tough defense from the start and prevented the Vaqueros from scoring a field goal for the first 8:46 of the game. That basket made the Bear Cubs' advantage 16-4. Vai Thompson's fourth free throw of the half at the 6:18 mark gave them their largest lead, 29-6. But the Bear Cubs could only score four more points in the half on field goals by Colleen Black and Brittney Rachuy. On the other side of the court the Vaqueros started making shots, eventually cutting their deficit to 19-33 heading into halftime.

            The second half seemed like a completely different game with the Vaqueros playing the role of aggressor, while the Bear Cubs couldn't get into any rhythm offensively. The Vaqueros scored the first field goal of the half and continued to score, as the Bear Cubs struggled to take and sink shots but made free throws. A Vaquero basket with 6:30 left on the clock got them to within nine at 38-47. Amber Hart's basket at the 5:32 mark turned out to be the Bear Cubs' final field goal of the game and made the score 52-42. Fortunately, the Bear Cubs made 10 out of 14 free throws in the final minutes to maintain their lead and come away with a 62-51 victory.

            In the second half, the Bear Cubs let their opponents take 38 shots, making 11, and grab 13 offensive rebounds. While having to play so much time on defense and making numerous turnovers on their own end of the court, Bear Cubs were only able to get off 17 shots, making six.

            Jenna Dunbar, led the Bear Cubs in scoring with 15 points, after scoring 14 in the first half. Sarah Arteseros and Brittney Rachuy also scored in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Niambi Saint Louis added 7 points, Alicia Mehtlan 5, Amber Hart and Vai Thompson 4 each, and Brooke Santander and Colleen Black 2 each. Jenna Dunbar also was the top rebounder with 9, while Sarah Arteseros grabbed 8.