SRJC 74, West Hills College-Lemoore 59
The #6 seeded Bear Cubs (18-10) hosted the #11 seeded Golden Eagles (19-9) of West Hills College-Lemoore in the second round of the NorCal Playoffs. Both teams finished tied for second place in their respective conferences. The Bear Cubs won the tipoff and 12 seconds later Kerianne Noonen swished a 3-pointer. Samantha Earl banked in a 3-pointer three seconds before their shot clock expired to tie the game. The Bear Cubs made their next three shots in a row beginning with Brooke Santander's 3-pointer and followed by two field goals by Niambi Saint Louis for a 10-5 lead after three minutes of play. The Golden Eagles' leading scorer, 6'3" Michelle Brown, banked in two more shots right near the hoop to cut her team's deficit to 9-12 at the midway point of the quarter. Brooke Santander's 3-pointer and Kerianne Noonen's field goal gave the Bear Cubs a 17-13 lead with 2:48 on the clock. The Golden Eagles hit a field goal 18 seconds later. The Bear Cubs finished the quarter with a 15-footer by Zaina Depina and a 3-pointer by Jenna Dunbar. The Golden Eagles sank one more field goal to end the quarter behind 17-22.
Jenna Dunbar scored the first three points of the second quarter on the Bear Cubs' first shot attempt. The Golden Eagles scored the next five points on a field goal by Brown and a 3-point play by Earl to get within three points at 22-25 with 8:11 on the clock. Vai Thompson's field goal at the 7:28 mark stretched the lead to 27-22. The visitors responded with two 3-pointers to go in front 28-27. Jenna Dunbar's 3-pointer 14 seconds later put the Bear Cubs up 30-28. The Golden Eagles tied the score at 30 with two out of four free throws. A minute later Jenna Dunbar was fouled attempting a 3-pointer. She made the first two free throws. She missed the third, but sprinted after the rebound and banked in the followup shot for a 34-30 lead with 2:59 remaining. A little over a minute later Niambi Saint Louis completed a 3-point play. On the Bear Cubs' next possession, Kerianne Noonen scored on a drive, was fouled, and made the free throw for a 40-30 advantage. The Golden Eagles sank two more free throws, and Brooke Santander drove in and scored to put the Bear Cubs ahead 42-32 going into halftime.
The Bear Cubs started the third quarter with the ball and Jenna Dunbar passed to Vai Thompson for the first field goal. Nearly two minutes later the Golden Eagles scored their first points of the quarter on Earl's second 3-point play of the game to make the score 35-44. Then the Bear Cubs went on an 8-0 run on three field goals by Jenna Dunbar and one by Brooke Santander. The Golden Eagles made their second field goal of the period at the 2:51 mark. Zaina Depina made a nifty drive around three defenders with 1:31 remaining. Earl scored her team's final three points of the quarter with over a minute left. Hayley Louzao finished off the scoring with a 3-pointer to give the home team a 60-42 lead by the end of the quarter.
Niambi Saint Louis scored the first field goal of the fourth quarter and the visitors quickly matched it. Saint Louis added two more field goals during the next 2:22 to lengthen the margin to 66-44. The Golden Eagles scored 8 points on 10 free throw attempts to cut their deficit to 52-66 with 3:54 on the clock. Thirty-one seconds later, following a timeout, Jenna Dunbar passed to an unguarded Hayley Louzao on a baseline inbounds play. When Dunbar made the Bear Cubs' last field goal of the game with 2:24 to go, it put them ahead 70-53. During the remainder of the contest Louzao made three free throws and Saint Louis one, while the Golden Eagles scored on two free throws and two field goals.
The 74-59 victory advances the Bear Cubs to the third round of the playoffs Wednesday evening. They travel to Rocklin to again face the Big 8 Champs, the #3 seeded Wolverines of Sierra College.
Samantha Earl, the Golden Eagles' Third Team All-State player led her team with 22 points. Michelle Brown, who came into the game averaging 16.5 points per game, finished with 12 points, 4 of them on free throws. Jordan Lasister also scored 12 points.
Jenna Dunbar had her second double-double of the season with 24 points, including 4 3-pointers, and 10 rebounds. Niambi Saint Louis contributed 14 points and 3 blocks. Brooke Santander made two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Hayley Louzao scored a season-high 8 points. Kerianne Noonen, who was also selected Third Team All-State, sat out much of the third quarter and all of the fourth to rest her sore knee. She still scored 8 points, passed for 4 assists, and made 4 steals. Zaina Depina played well as the backup point guard and tallied 4 points. Vai Thompson also added 4 points. Thompson and Santander each grabbed 6 rebounds. Jenna Dunbar led in assists with 6.