SRJC 66, Foothill 69
In the Consolation Round of the Merced College Tournament, the Bear Cubs faced the team that defeated them in the championship game last year, the Foothill College Owls. The Owls scored first 88 seconds in. Meme Nicolis converted a 3-point play 45 seconds later. The Owls answered with a 3-pointer, then Zaina Depina's matched it followed by Tiffany Salinas' jumper to put the Bear Cubs ahead 8-5 after four minutes of play. Sadie Irvine's 3-point play and two free throws followed by Jenny Eggers' field goal stretched the lead to 15-7 with 3:24 left. Both teams scored eight more points, making the score 23-15 as the Owls sank a 12-footer at the buzzer.
Sadie Irvine scored first in the second quarter five seconds before the Owls hit a shot. The Bear Cubs' defense made it difficult for their opponents to score. Meanwhile on offense Sadie Irvine added six more points and LaDonna Saint Louis sank four free throws to help the Bear Cubs build a 39-25 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
The Owls' increased defensive pressure to start the third period forced Bear Cubs' turnovers, which resulted in seven unanswered points in the first 85 seconds. Sadie Irvine finally added two points for the Bear Cubs at the 8:05 mark, making the score 41-32. When Jenny Eggers hit a 3-pointer with 2:44 on the clock, the lead was down to 46-40. Eggers' field goal a minute later stretched the margin to 48-41. An Owl field goal was countered by Zaina Depina's two free throws. Jenny Eggers scored the Bear Cubs' final points of the quarter with 16 seconds remaining. The Owls missed their next shot and knocked the rebound out of bounds. The Bear Cubs inbounded under the Owls' basket with 3 seconds left, then got the ball stolen and watched helplessly as it was converted into a layup at the buzzer, leaving the Bear Cubs with a 52-45 lead.
Tiffany Salinas scored the first three points of the fourth quarter on consecutive possessions. Sadie Irvine's jumper with 7:15 on the clock made the lead 57-49. The Owls went on a 12-0 run by taking advantage of Bear Cubs' turnovers and porous defense to sprint out to a 61-57 lead with 2:50 to play. Zaina Depina sank two free throws at the 2:09 mark. Akilah Jennings made her fifth field goal of the quarter and added the and-one free throw for the Owls 10 seconds later. Sadie Irvine hit a jumper 14 seconds after that, then converted a 3-point play of her own with 1:17 remaining to tie the score at 64. Tiffany Salinas, who had to leave the game early in the quarter after sustaining a bloody nose, gave the Bear Cubs the lead 66-64 with 39 seconds to go. Jennings' layup through traffic seven seconds later knotted the contest. The Bear Cubs tried to pass out of the high post, but turned the ball over and committed a foul. Tyiteyanna Jefferson sank both free throws with 17 seconds to play. The Bear Cubs lost the ball out of bounds on a drive. The Owls called a timeout and advanced the ball to halfcourt. They inbounded and Sadie Irvine had to commit a foul, her fifth, to stop the clock with five seconds. Jennings missed the first free throw but made the second. The Bear Cubs were out of timeouts, so Zaina Depina drove the ball upcourt and had time to get off a 3-point shot, but it bounced off the backboard without a chance of going in. The Owls outscored the Bear Cubs 24-14 in the final quarter to claim the 69-66 victory.
The Bear Cubs played well in the first half, making 13 out of 25 shot attempts (52%), 12 out of 17 free throws (71%), and committing 8 turnovers. In the second half they only made 9 out of 23 shots (39%), 8 out of 13 free throws (62%), and turned the ball over 18 times.
Akilah Jennings scored 20 points for the Owls, 14 of them in the second half. Tyiteyanna Jefferson finished with 12 points.
Sadie Irvine was the leading score and rebounder for the Bear Cubs with 26 point and 8 rebounds. Irvine made 8 out of 13 shot attempts and 10 out of 12 free throws. Jenny Eggers also shot well and totaled 11 points. Tiffany Salinas made 5 out of 6 shots and one free throw for 11 points. Zaina Depina sank a 3-pointer and all four of her free throws to total 7 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Meme Nicolis added 5 points, LaDonna Saint Louis 4, and Madison Barsuglia 2. Sadie Irvine led in assists with 3