It was a tale of two halves for the UCR women’s basketball team. The Highlanders came out of the gates with a lot of energy in the first half, but it was a completely different story in the second as they were outscored by 20 points in the following period. Losing two starters to in-game injuries, the Highlanders could not seem to get things together and the team would ultimately fall by a score of 80-59 to the Pacific Tigers.
The Highlanders and the Tigers were involved in a tight one during the first 20 minutes of the game. UCR jumped out to an early 15-8 lead after free throws by Brittany Palmer. Pacific battled back by outscoring UCR 15-2 late in the first half to take a six-point lead..
With 3:48 remaining in the first, star point guard Tre’Shonti Nottingham took an elbow to the head and was knocked down. Nottingham remained unresponsive on the floor for a few minutes before getting back up with the help of the team’s trainers. Nottingham would not return to the game after that point.
The score remained close until the Highlanders regained a three-point lead in the closing minutes of the half. The Highlanders led 34-33 late in the first half but were unable to maintain their lead. With only a few seconds remaining, the Tigers sank a layup at the buzzer to take a one-point lead into the locker room. The score was 35-34 in the Tigers’ favor.
Pacific rode that momentum into the second period. The Tigers opened up the second half with a 20-2 run to take a commanding 55-36 lead. Coach Margaritis called various timeouts and substituted a few players to try to change the rhythm of the game, but it was to no avail. The Tigers were resilient and maintained their lead.
Late in the game, starter Brittany Palmer was tripped and knocked down by an opposing player. She would lay on the floor holding her head in pain before being helped up by the team trainers. Palmer, like Nottingham, would not return to the game.
Adding insult to injury, the Tigers then took their first 20-point lead with 3:28 remaining at 76-56. The Highlanders were unable to respond from that point on. UCR lost the game by a score of 80-59. For the Highlanders, this proved to be the team’s sixth consecutive loss and 13th defeat overall. The team’s overall record now stands at 2-13 while their conference record stands at 0-4.
After the game, coach Margaritis went on to talk about his injured players. “Both got hit,” he said. “How bad it is, I have no idea. [Our trainer] said she was going to hold them out until they knew.”
The Highlanders shot 42.4 percent in the first but fell apart in the second, shooting a dismal 26.9 percent. UCR was outscored by 20 points in the second period.
“I thought we played hard,” said Coach Margaritis after the game. “We could have finished the half a little bit better by controlling the situation and we didn’t. And then the start of the second half wasn’t good.”
Jessica Ogunnorin finished the game with a team-high 14 points and Brittany Palmer added 12 points of her own before being injured.
The Highlanders will travel to San Luis Obispo to face the Cal Poly Mustangs on Jan. 12 and will look to snap their six-game losing streak.
Aggies 70 – Highlanders 53
The Highlanders played their first match of the new year against the UC Davis Aggies this past Thursday at home. UCR’s Tre’Shonti Nottingham scored a game-high 21 points, but her efforts were not enough as the Highlanders lost the game by a score of 70-53.
After trailing 29-18 at the half, the Highlanders used a strong 15-2 run to take a two-point lead in the game. The Aggies countered with nine unanswered points of their own to retake a seven-point lead at 40-33 with 12:18 remaining in the game.
Davis never looked back from that point on. The Aggies later took a 19-point advantage with 19 seconds remaining in regulation at 68-49 to seal the game. UCR lost its fifth straight game by a score of 70-53.
Nottingham scored 21 points for her team and Jessica Ogunnorin added 10 points for Riverside. The team committed a total of 25 turnovers in the game a shot 39.5 percent from the field compared to the Aggies’ 36.8 percent. For the fifth time this season, UCR shot a better percentage than its opponents and still lost the match. This proved to be the Highlanders’ third straight conference loss of the season.