The UC Riverside women’s basketball team (4-10) ended their non-conference play with a 53-52 win over CSU Bakersfield (8-5) on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m at the SRC Arena. This win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Highlanders and is the fourth straight game UCR has won against CSU Bakersfield.
The Highlanders broke the recent trend of being outscored in the first quarter as they had during the previous three games they had lost and went into the second quarter with a three-point lead. UCR battled the Roadrunners for the entirety of the game, forcing seven lead changes but they were unable to hold the lead for long.
At the end of the second half, senior forward Marina Ewodo scored a clutch basket in the paint on an assist from sophomore forward Daphne Gnago, tying the game at 51 apiece. It wasn’t until the final 18 seconds when Daphne Gnago scored the game-winning layup. With the score tied and the shot clock dwindling, Gnago drove to the basket from the top of the key and scored over the Roadrunners defense to give the Highlanders the lead.
Still hungry for the win, CSU Bakersfield center Vanessa Austin missed on a drive to the basket with no timeouts remaining. Austin snagged the offensive rebound and made it to the line after a foul from UCR sophomore guard Lauryn Pointer. Austin connected on her first free throw attempt but fell short on the second. Sophomore forward Jayden Eggleston grabbed the rebound for the Roadrunners and missed a layup attempt as the clock ran down with the Highlanders still ahead.
The Highlanders finished the game with a 41% field goal percentage overall, going 22-for-53 from the field. They also struggled with three-pointers, making only 1-of-12 attempts the whole game.
UCR senior guard Jannon Otto led the game in scoring with 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. This was Otto’s third double-double and fifth double-digit scoring game this season.
The game was also won by big contributions from junior guard Keilani Cooper and senior forward Marina Ewodo, who scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Cooper also scored the Highlanders only three-pointer of the game from just two attempts.
Next, the Highlanders will tip off Big West Conference play and the first game of the decade against UC Davis on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m at the SRC Arena.