Dec. 28, 2013
Aztecs 58 – Highlanders 57
While students were enjoying the holiday festivities, the women’s basketball team exchanged their jovial hats for work helmets as they competed in the San Diego Surf and Slam Tournament at the Viejas Arena in San Diego, Calif. The club’s opening game against San Diego State University was an intense display of basketball as the team came shy one point from the victory at 58-57.
UCR came out strong as the first period of the night began. After the Aztecs hit the first bucket of the game, the Highlanders used an 11-2 run over the first six minutes to race to an 11-4 lead. As the clock continued to unwind, UCR scored 10 of the next 14 points to further push the advantage, 21-8. Center Natasha Hadley converted on three key layups while Annelise Ito also contributed, knocking down a pair of shots. With 4:19 remaining, the Highlanders took the largest lead of the game, 31-17. The Aztecs finally came back to life as the period came to an end, cutting down the lead to only eight points, 33-25.
Coming into the second half, the Highlanders led the game for the first two minutes, but the Aztecs were determined to turn the scoreboard around and tied the game at the 12:38 mark, 38-38. The game was tied three times throughout the night, until Aztec Ariell Bostick’s three-pointer put them on top at the 1:16 mark, 55-52. With six seconds to go, Simone DeCoud sought to tie the game, but her three-point attempt was off the mark. Akilah Martin was able to make a layup with two seconds remaining, which put them one point away. The Highlanders couldn’t commit a foul in the waning seconds as the Aztecs pulled away with the win, 58-57.
DeCoud led the Highlanders with 14 points, while Hadley and Martin both added 13 points. Ariell Bostick led the Aztecs, tallying 12 points for the night.
UCR was outrebounded 42 to 37, and had 14 turnovers compared to the Aztecs’ 11. The Highlanders were without their leading scorer Brittany Crain, who missed the game due to injury.
Dec. 30, 2013
Wildcats 74 – Highlanders 42
Looking to avoid a sixth consecutive loss, the Highlanders (4-9) faced the Kansas State Wildcats Monday afternoon in their last game of the San Diego Tournament. Playing without leading scorer Brittany Crain for the second straight game, UC Riverside struggled to produce consistent offense as they lost, 74-42.
As the first period began, Kansas State had the hot hand as they took an 11-0 lead. Firing on all cylinders, the team hit four-of-six from the field including three consecutive treys. Almost five minutes into the contest, Natasha Hadley’s jumper finally put UCR on the board, but the Wildcats were quick in responding. Missing jumpers, turning over the ball, and fouling cost the Highlanders as the Wildcats led the game by 22 points at the half, 43-21. Kansas State hit eight-of-13 three-pointers compared to the Highlanders’ one-of-three three-pointers, while outshooting UCR 46.7 percent to 31.8 percent. Hadley was the bright spot for Riverside, hitting three-of-six shots for six points and three rebounds.
Trying to turn the game around, UCR went into the second period with hopes of stopping the Kansas State offense but struggled on both ends of the court. The Wildcats were able to connect with their first two shots of the period. The Highlanders quickly responded as they cut the margin to 47-27, making six straight points with 14:12 to go. Kansas State wouldn’t let UCR get closer than that, however, as they led by 36 points at the 3:47 mark. The period came to an end as Hadley missed the last jumper of the night, closing the game, 74-42.
Once again, Annelise Ito scored double digits and led the Highlanders with 15 points. Hadley added 10 points and six rebounds. Wildcat guard Leticia Romero had a career-high 16 points to go along with a team- and game-high 10 assists.
Riverside only made one three-pointer on the night (1-9) while shooting below 30 percent from the field (16-56).
Hoping to end its six-game losing streak, UCR now prepares to face the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center Arena.