SRJC 59, Foothill College 50
The 2014-2015 California Community College basketball season officially began November 1. Two weeks into the season, the Bear Cubs faced their first opponent, the Foothill College Owls, in the first round of the Merced College Tournament. Both teams started off shaky, committing turnovers and missing shots. It took two-and-a-half minutes of play before sophomore Alicia Mehtlan scored the first field goal of the game, putting the Bear Cubs ahead 2-0. Ninety seconds later freshman Brooke Santander sank two free throws for a 4-0 lead. When freshman Jenna Dunbar swished the Bear Cubs' first 3-pointer of the season at the 7:48 mark, it put them in front 14-6. The Owls cut their deficit to 14-16 with two minutes left in the half. Field goals by sophomore Taylor Graham and Jenna Dunbar helped the Bear Cubs take a 20-16 lead into halftime.
Both teams shot poorly in the opening half. The Bear Cubs making only 6 out of 27 shots (22%), including 1 out of 9 from beyond the arc, while the Owls made 5 out of 22 (23%).
Both teams came out of halftime determined to score. The Bear Cubs started by sinking five 3-pointers in a row, and following a single miss, hit another 3-pointer for a 38-28 lead after just 5 minutes of play. The Bear Cubs couldn't shut down their opponents and with three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game, the Bear Cubs only held a 48-45 advantage. Twenty seconds later Brooke Santander hit her second 3-pointer of the half. The Owls scored their final basket on a 3-pointer at the 2-minute mark, to pull to within a single point, 50-51. On their next possession Santander was fouled and went to the line to shoot 1+1. She made both free throws. The Bear Cub defense kept the Owls from scoring and Brittney Rachuy was fouled with 45 seconds on the clock. She made both free throws for a 55-50 lead. Again the Bear Cub defense stopped the Owls three more times, and Jenna Dunbar finished the scoring by going to the line twice and sinking all 4 free throws. The 59-50 victory puts the Bear Cubs into the winner's bracket of the tournament, where they next face Fresno City College, who defeated De Anza College by 30 points.
In the second half both teams improved their shooting. The Bear Cubs converted 46% of their shots (12 out of 26), including 7 out of 13 3-pointers. The Owls meanwhile hit 13 out of 30 (43%).
Jenna Dunbar led all scorers with 29 points, which included five 3-pointers and 8 out of 8 from the free throw line. Brooke Santander hit two 3-pointers and 4 out of 4 free throws for 10 points. Alicia Mehtlan added 6 points, Brittney Rachuy 5, Amber Hart 4, and Sarah Arteseros and Taylor Graham 2 each. Vai Thompson was the leading rebounder with 8, while point guard Taylor Graham grabbed 7.