SRJC 43, American River College 44
The Bear Cubs (9-6) began Big 8 Conference play on the road at American River College to face the Beavers (10-3). Both teams got off to a shaky start and the Beavers scored first on a field goal at the 7:45 mark. The Bear Cubs tied the score on their next possession when Kerianne Noonen drew a shooting foul and made both free throws. The Beavers then drew their own shooting foul and sank both free throws. Noonen's field goal tied the game with 6:22 on the clock. The Beavers responded with a 3-pointer and later added another pair of free throws and a field goal to take an 11-4 lead with 2:45 remaining. Brooke Santander scored the Bear Cubs' second field goal of the quarter 15 seconds later. The host team finished out the quarter with a field goal and a 3-pointer while the Bear Cubs only made one free throw, giving the Beavers a 16-7 advantage.
The Bear Cubs started the second quarter with two field goals by Kerianne Noonen, one by Vai Thompson, one of two free throws by Thompson, and two free throws by Melyra (Meme) Nicolis to pull to 16-18 after three minutes of play. But the Bear Cubs missed their next eight shot attempts before Thompson banked one in at the 1:42 mark to tie the contest at 18. Noonen made one of two free throws 25 seconds later to briefly put the Bear Cubs in front 19-18. But the Beavers made three field goals in the final 1:17, including one at the buzzer, to go into halftime ahead 24-19.
The Beavers scored the first four points of the third quarter before Kerianne Noonen banked in a shot with 8:18 on the clock. It took the Bear Cubs over two and a half minutes to add to their 21 points with a Brooke Santander field goal. Niambi Saint Louis' field goal four minutes later cut their deficit to 25-30 at the 1:36 mark. The Bear Cubs scored the final four points of the quarter on two free throw by Noonen and a reverse layup by Vai Thompson just before the buzzer sounded, making the score 29-30.
The Beavers drew a shooting foul on their first possession of the fourth quarter and made one free throw. Brooke Santander converted a 3-point play with 8:20 on the clock for a 32-31 lead. Two Beaver field goals put them ahead 35-33 at the 6:45 mark. Kerianne Noonen's field goal and two free throws gave the Bear Cubs a 37-35 advantage with 5:46 on the clock. A Beaver 3-pointer with 4:00 remaining put them back on top 38-37. Fourteen seconds later Noonen was fouled. She made the first free throw to tie the score, but missed the second. Half a minute later Zaina Depina was fouled. She missed the first free throw but made the second. The Beavers swished a deep 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining to jump ahead 41-39. Both teams missed shots, then with 47 seconds to go Noonen was fouled on a drive. She made both free throws to tie the game. Twelve seconds later one of the Beavers drew a shooting foul. She made the first but not the second. The Bear Cubs rebounded and called a timeout. They inbounded and worked for a shot. Noonen's attempt bounced off the rim. She dove for the rebound and was fouled as she grabbed the loose ball. She made both free throws for a 43-42 lead with 14 seconds left. The Beavers called a timeout. They inbounded the ball, fumbled it, and Zaina Depina tied it up. The possession arrow favored the home team. After inbounding, they passed the ball around and threw up an off balance 3-pointer that was way off target, but one of the officials blew his whistle signaling a foul. With 0.2 seconds showing on the clock, the Beavers' leading scorer for the game, Hayleigh Filer, went to the line to shoot three. She missed the first but sank the next two for a 44-43 lead. The Bear Cubs called a timeout but couldn't complete the inbounds pass for the tip-in shot as the final buzzer sounded.
The Bear Cubs played well defensively, but again struggled on offense. They made only 6 out of 31 shots in the first half (19%) and 6 out of 26 (23%) in the second half. They were 19 out of 25 (76%) from the free throw line.
Point guard Kerianne Noonen recorded a double-double with 22 points, including 12 out of 14 from the free throw line, and 13 rebounds. Vai Thompson and Brooke Santander each added 7 points, Niambi Saint Louis 4, Meme Nicolis 2, and Zaina Depina 1. Vai Thompson pulled down 8 rebounds and Niambi Saint Louis 7.