In what very well may be the best all-around performance by the UC Riverside women’s basketball team this season, four Riverside players reached double figures in scoring to help lead the Highlanders to victory against the Washington State Cougars.It was a cat-and-mouse game throughout, with five ties and nine lead changes that provided an entertaining show for the 314 fans occupying the SRC Arena.
The Cougars took a 10-3 lead in the first half by taking advantage of the Highlanders’ sloppy early play, including two Tre’Shonti Nottingham turnovers. Eventually, the Highlanders found the pep in their step and hung with the Cougars until the buzzer sounded the end of the first half with both teams knotted up, 34-34.
Both squads continued to jab at each other in the second half, with no team taking a lead larger than six points.
Midway through the second half, a huge momentum swing in which an 8-0 run led by Kiara Harewood and Brittany Crain gave the Highlanders a 63-57 lead that sent the SRC Arena crowd roaring. The all-so rare “DEFENSE!” chants and ground stomps became a rallying cry for the Highlanders as they were able to finish off the Cougars, thanks to four late free throws by Nottingham. Nottingham has been the team’s best player as well as the nation’s highest scorer, who picked up 11 of her 14 points in the second half.
December 2nd, 2012
Highlanders 71 – Lumberjacks 43
The UC Riverside women’s basketball team is giving Highlander fans something to be proud of, continuing their winning ways after a 71-43 thrashing of the visiting Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
An outstanding all-around effort by the Highlanders lifted them to victory, with five players scoring in double figures, including a 13-point effort by star guard Tre’Shonti Nottingham, who was outperformed by junior center Natasha Hadley’s team-leading 15 points and nine rebounds.
Northern Arizona’s Raven Anderson led her team with a double-double: 18 points complemented by 14 rebounds.
The Highlander defense held Northern Arizona to a pitiful (16-62, 25.8 percent) shooting performance, with many of those misses coming from behind the arc (1-15, 6.7 percent). By comparison, UC Riverside converted 41.9 percent (26-62) of their shots, shooting 31.6 percent (6-19) from 3-point range.
Northern Arizona never held a lead at any point in the match. A 10 to nine margin favoring UCR early in the first half was the closest they got, but the Highlanders caught fire, embarking on a 13-0 run led by forward Janelle Kearney. Utter domination on the defensive front conceded a mere 16 points to the Lumberjacks by the end of the first half.
UC Riverside kept their foot on the gas pedal after the break, improving their 18-point halftime lead to as much as 30 as Kiara Harewood drained a 3-pointer with 10:47 to go. The rout continued until the zeroes flashed across the scoreboard, with the Highlanders sending their fans home happy. A strong message was also sent to the Big West media, whose poll projected an eighth place finish in the conference for the Highlanders this season.
The Highlanders cap off their home stand with a chance to improve their record to 6-2 against the Idaho Vandals this Friday, Dec. 7.