Feb. 19, 2015
Highlanders 71 – Gauchos 65
This week the Highlanders hit the road to square off against two Big West conference foes beginning with a Thursday evening contest with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. UC Riverside got the better of the Gauchos with a triumphant win of 71-65, moving up to 7-5 in the Big West.
Two minutes into the game, the Gauchos took the lead and took charge for the majority of the first half. With 3:37 remaining, a jump shot by Annelise Ito put the Highlanders in the lead, 31-28. The Highlanders entered their locker room clutching onto a 33-31 lead.
With their thirst quenched and refreshed, both teams entered the second half with a newfound energy. UCSB opened the half well and led by six points, but soon enough the Highlanders took over on offense. With 12:13 remaining, a jump shot by Dynese Adams put UCR on top.
For the remainder of the game UCR controlled the ball and held on for the win, 71-65. UCR was led by the fourth-leading scorer in the nation, Brittany Crain, who tallied 24 points. The second-leading scorer of the night was Ito, who contributed 19 points and hit six of 13 shots from the field in 40 minutes of play. Simone DeCoud handled point guard duties, dishing out a game high of nine assists, giving her a new season high and matching a career high for the third time.
Feb. 21, 2015
Mustangs 70 – Highlanders 68
Facing the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Broncos on Saturday afternoon, the women’s basketball team put up a fight against the Mustangs but were defeated by two points, 70-68. UCR dominated the free-throw line, converting on 76.9 percent of its opportunities and Cal Poly only 52.6 percent. However, Cal Poly (47.6) topped UCR (28.6) in three-point percentage by almost 20 percent.
From the start UCR took the lead by two points, but that was their highest lead of the night. After eight minutes into the game UCR was trailing by 17 points. Soon enough Simone DeCoud and Michelle Curry made a couple of free throws and three pointers that cut the Broncos’ lead to eight. The Highlanders pushed through but were unable to catch up and went into the locker room trailing 33-27.
The Highlanders returned to the court and were constantly playing catch up, maintaining a five- to six-point deficit behind the Broncos. The last 20 seconds of the game induced nervous energy into the crowd as the scores grew closer. With 11 seconds left, Mustang Rachel Koehler scored two free throws. The Highlanders had not yet given up as DeCoud sank a three-pointer in the very last second of the game, but to their dismay fell two points short, 70-68.
DeCoud was on fire offensively, finishing with a season high and game high of 23 points. Brittany Crain contributed 16 points and Curry contributed 14. After a week of traveling, the Highlanders return home on Feb. 28 to face Cal State Northridge.