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Women's Basketball: Bear Cubs honor 6 sophomores on final game

6 Sophomores and their families

SRJC 64, San Joaquin Delta 71

             For their final home of the regular season, the Bear Cubs (9-16, 4-7) hosted the San Joaquin Delta College Mustangs (21-6, 8-3), the #6 team in the North. After the Mustangs missed their first shot attempt, the Bear Cubs got their chance and Zaina Depina scored on a give-and-go play. Both teams went scoreless for over a minute until Brittany Butler sank the Mustangs' first basket--a 3-pointer--with 7:55 on the clock. More than a minute later the Mustangs sank another 3-pointer. Sadie Irvine's fast break basket with 6:16 left made the score 4-6. Butler's second 3-pointer went through at the 5:22 mark. Angel Bernardi made two free throws and a field goal in the next two minutes to close the gap to 8-9. Then Butler hit another 3 with 1:49 left, and the Mustangs added one free throw on their following possession. The Bear Cubs scored the last three points of the quarter on a single free throw by Madison Barsuglia and a driving layup by Zaina Depina to end the period behind 11-13.

            Butler scored the first two points of the second quarter on a pair of free throws. No one scored again until Angel Bernardi made one free throw at the 6:39 mark. The Mustangs then sank another 3-pointer. Destiny Grayer's left handed 12-footer put the score at 14-18. The Mustangs outscored the home team 8-2 during the next four minutes, as the Bear Cubs were only able to attempt two shots, both unsuccessful, because they kept turning the ball over against the full court press. La Donna Saint Louis' layup with 1:32 was just their second basket of the quarter and made the score 18-26. Angel Bernardi was fouled with eight seconds remaining and put in both free throws. The Mustangs drew a foul with 0.1 second on the clock and made both free throws to end the half with a 28-20 advantage.

            The Bear Cubs started the third quarter with the ball and ran a successful play where Meme Nicolis passed across the key to Ashley Hart for the 1-footer. Two minutes later Hayley Louzao scored on a drive. Then the next time down Sadie Irvine swished a 3-pointer on an inbounds play to cut their deficit to 27-28 with 7:16 on the clock. Butler hit a short shot 19 seconds later. Ashley Hart's fast break basket and La Donna Saint Louis' two free throws gave the Bear Cubs their first lead with 5:36 left. Sadie Irvine dropped in another 3-pointer about a minute later and followed it up with a 10-foot pull-up jumper for a 36-32 lead. The Mustangs quickly answered with a field goal. After Irvine's 10-foot jumper, the Mustangs hit a 3-pointer to close to 37-38. With 1:00 left Irvine went to the free throw line where she missed the first but made the second. The Mustangs hit a shot from inside the key to tie the score at 39. Tiffany Salinas scored on a putback with 25 seconds left, and then Butler swished a 3-pointer from the baseline just before the buzzer sounded, giving the Mustangs a 42-41 margin at the end of the quarter.

            The Mustangs swished a 3-pointer 50 seconds in the fourth quarter. The Bear Cubs came down and Destiny Grayer put through her own 3-pointer. After a Mustangs' miss, the Bear Cubs pushed the ball. Tiffany Salinas drove, and because she was off balance, threw the ball off the backboard, grabbed her own rebound, then gathered herself and banked in the putback for a 46-45 lead with 7:56 on the clock. The Mustangs beat the Bear Cubs down the court and completed a 3-point play to re-take the lead. Sadie Irvine's 3-pointer with 6:29 left put her team ahead 49-48. The Mustangs answered with a 3-pointer, and then Zaina Depina passed to Madison Barsuglia on a fast break for the tying layup. The Mustangs went on an 8-0 run to jump out to a 59-51 lead with 3:22 remaining. Depina was fouled on a drive with 3:06 left and made one free throw. The Mustangs added another field goal, and then Irvine was fouled on a shot and made both free throws. With 1:44 on the clock Irvine hit a jumper to close the gap to 56-61. Butler scored the Mustangs' final basket with 1:12 left on a drive around defenders for a 63-56 lead. Irvine swished her fourth 3-pointer with 55 seconds to go. The Bear Cubs had to foul and the Mustangs made both free throws. La Donna Saint Louis was fouled on a drive with 28 second to play and made one free throw. Again the Bear Cubs fouled and the Mustangs made one free throw. The Bear Cubs turned the ball over then had to foul. The Mustangs again made only one free throw. With 18 seconds on the clock, Sadie Irvine drove to the free throws line then passed out to Zaina Depina on the wing, who nailed the 3-pointer, making the score 64-69. The Mustangs inbounded to Butler, who was fouled. She made both free throws, and the Bear Cubs were unable to get off a shot, ending their upset attempt 64-71.

            The Bear Cubs, who were totally outplayed by the Mustangs in Stockton, losing 52-85, gave the visitors a tough battle this time. The Bear Cubs played well on defense, forcing the Mustangs to make only 30% of their shot attempts (22 out of 73). But their own offense struggled in the first half, as they only made 5 out of 21 shots (24%) and turned the ball over 18 times. In the second half, they found their shooting touch and made 15 out of 29 (52%), but still committed 16 turnovers.

            Brittany Butler led the Mustangs with 24 points and four 3-pointers.

            Sadie Irvine, who only scored 3 points in the first half, made 4 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 25 points and her second double-double of the season, as she led with 11 rebounds. Zaina Depina contributed 8 points, Angel Bernardi 7, La Donna Saint Louis 6, Destiny Grayer 5, Tiffany Salinas and Ashley Hart 4 each, Madison Barsuglia 3, and Hayley Louzao 2. Tiffany Salinas, who picked up two fouls in the first quarter, pulled down 8 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Sadie Irvine also led in steals with 3.

            Prior to the start of the game, the Santa Rosa coaches honored their 6 sophomores: Madison Barsuglia, Zaina Depina, Ashley Hart, Sadie Irvine, Hayley Louzao, and Meme Nicolis. A special presentation was then made to assistant Coach Leslie Hirshfield, who is moving to Portland, Oregon. Hirshfield played for the Bear Cubs from 2005-2007 and returned to help coach from 2010-2017.