SRJC 57, Cypress College 64
The Bear Cub missed a week of practices and had their November 1 home game canceled due to the school closure forced by the Kincade Fire. Following two days of practice and a scrimmage against Sonoma State, the Bear Cubs traveled to the Central Valley to face the Cypress College Chargers in the opening round of the Merced College Tournament. The Bear Cubs won the tip and on their first possession, Lani Lincoln swished a 3-pointer. Lani drained two more from beyond the arc for a 9-0 lead, prompting the Cypress coach to call a timeout with 7:16 on the clock. When play resumed, the Chargers scored their first field goal, and followed it up with a 3-pointer. Trinity Hawkins sank her first shot of the contest to make the score 11-5. Hanna Morris' layup on the end of the press break and a field goal each by Lizbeth Zavala and Kierra Johnson gave the Bear Cubs a 17-10 advantage by the end of the quarter.
The Chargers started the second quarter with the ball and scored 17 seconds later. The Bear Cubs turned the ball over twice before Hanna Morris banked in a 1-footer with 8:26 on the clock, making the score 19-13. A field goal each by Johnson and Hawkins in the next 1:40 extended the lead to 23-16. Two minutes later Johnson's two-pointer and subsequent 3-pointer made the lead 28-20 at the 3:45 mark. During the remainder of the period Lincoln dropped in her fourth 3-pointer and Marlana Sawyer sneaked in a baseline 2-footer, while the Chargers added three free throws and two field goals to make the halftime score 33-27.
The Chargers began the scoring in the third quarter with a 3-pointer. Johnson answered with a field goal from the high post. The Chargers hit a field goal and then so did Hawkins. In the next two minutes the Chargers went to the free throw line twice, both times missing the first and making the second, and hit two field goals, while Johnson sank two field goals and Zavala one, as the Bear Cubs' lead shrank to 43-39 at the 6:35 mark. Johnson made two more field goals and the Chargers one within three minutes. The Chargers finished the remaining 3:40 with a 5-0 run, including a field goal at the buzzer to reduce their deficit to 46-47.
The Chargers scored the first field goal of the fourth quarter after just 22 seconds. Kassi Agapoff drew a shooting foul, going to the free throw line to shoot just the Bear Cubs' third and fourth of the contest. She missed the first but made the second to tie the score at 48 with 8:39 on the clock. The Chargers made one of two free throws then so did Hawkins. Hawkins proceeded to sink two field goals in a row while the Chargers made three field goals to take a 55-53 lead at the 5:14 mark. The Chargers scored seven unanswered points before Zavala's 2-footer with 1:16 remaining. Johnson's putback with 56 seconds left turned out to be the Bear Cubs' final points. The Chargers scored the final two points of the game as a player drove to the hoop with two seconds left, was fouled, and made both free throws to cap off a 64-57 win.
The Bear Cubs' all freshman lineup of just eight players had some difficulty against the Chargers' full court press and were hampered by foul trouble. The Bear Cubs were whistled for 20 fouls to their opponents' 11. The Bear Cubs shot 10 free throws and made only two. The Chargers attempted 30 free throws and made 17.
6'1" Kierra Johnson led the Bear Cubs in scoring and rebounding with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Lani Lincoln made 4 out of 5 3-point attempts for 12 points. Trinity Hawkins just missed a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Lizbeth Zavala added 6 points, Hanna Morris 4, Marlana Sawyer 2, and Kassi Agapoff 1. Hawkins passed for 6 assists and Agapoff for 5. Johnson blocked 5 shots.