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Women's Basketball opens Gilcrest Tournament with a win

Women's Basketball opens Gilcrest Tournament with a win

SRJC 66, Riverside 55 

The Bear Cubs' (2-1) first round opponent in the 16-team North-South Tom Gilcrest Invitational Tournament at the College of Sequoias in Visalia was the Riverside City College Tigers (6-1). The Tigers scored the first points of the game after nearly a minute of play. Brooke Santander answered for the Bear Cubs on their next possession. Seventy-four seconds later Niambi Saint Louis' bucket gave her team a 4-2 lead. But the Tigers jumped ahead with a 3-pointer. Two free throws and a 3-pointer by Kerianne Noonan put the Bear Cubs back in front 9-5. Brooke Santander put the Bear Cubs' final points of the quarter on the scoreboard by sinking two free throws at the 3:26 mark for a 15-10 advantage. But the Tigers finished the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 17-15 lead. 

Three minutes into the second quarter the Tigers were ahead 21-17. Then Brooke Santander completed a 3-point play, Melyra Nicolis scored on a putback, Santander swished a 3-pointer and sank a 2-pointer, and Nicolis banked in close shot to put the Bear Cubs in front 29-26 with 3:00 left in the quarter. Kylie Oden's 3-pointer with 1:35 on the clock increased the margin to 32-28. But the Tigers hit two 3-pointers, including one at the buzzer, to hold a 34-32 lead heading into halftime. 

Kylie Oden's 3-pointer at the 8:42 mark of the third quarter put the Bear Cubs on top 35-34. After baskets by Kerianne Noonan and Brooke Santander and two free throws by Noonan, the Tigers hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 41 at the midway point of the quarter. Oden's third 3-pointer swished through the net 43 seconds later. Melyra Nicolis hit one of two free throws, then the Bear Cubs switched to their half-court trapping defense and the Tigers threw the ball out of bounds. Niambi Saint Louis scored for the Bear Cubs. The Tigers turned the ball over again. The Bear Cubs missed a shot way short but Nicolis grabbed the ball out of the air and sank the shot for a 49-41 lead with 2:34 on the clock. The Tigers scored their final points of the quarter with 1:30 remaining. The Bear Cubs finished with back-to-back steals and lay-ups by Saint Louis and Santander, who was fouled on the drive and sank the free throw, to increase their margin to 54-43 at the end of the quarter. 

Kerianne Noonan scored the first basket of the final quarter with 9:10 on the clock. The Tigers answered with a 3-pointer. Noonan swished a pair of free throws 43 seconds later. Oden's 3-point play with 5:49 to go made the score 61-48. Oden sank a field goal and Noonan a free throw then a tough driving layup to put the score at 66-53 with two minutes to play. The Tigers added only a single field goal to make the final score 66-55. 

The win advances the Bear Cubs into the winner's bracket where they next take on the Pirates of Ventura College, who are currently ranked #2 in the South. 

Kerianne Noonan led the Bear Cubs in scoring with 18 points, including 9 out of 10 from the free throw line, and in assists with 4. Brooke Santander completed two 3-point plays and sank one 3-pointer on her way to 17 points. Kylie Oden, playing in her first game of the season after recovering from a concussion, swished three 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Melyra Nicolis came off the bench to score 9 points and lead the team in rebounding with 13. Niambi Saint Louis contributed 6 points and 3 blocks. Vai Thompson had 2 points and 5 rebounds.