Women’s basketball earns back-to-back conference wins against Long Beach and UC Irvine

Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER
Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER

Jan. 17, 2013
Highlanders 50 – Long Beach 49

In the midst of a three game losing streak, the UC Riverside women’s basketball team (8-7, 1-3) rallied back from a 13 point first half deficit to power past Long Beach State, 50-49. Tre’Shonti Nottingham sank the game winning free throw with two seconds remaining to give the Highlanders their first Big West Conference win of the season.

Nottingham, who leads the team in scoring, muscled her way to her first double-double of the season tallying 18 points and 10 rebounds. Brittany Crain chipped in 14 points while Janelle Kearney added eight.

The Highlanders jumped on the board first when Crain made a jumper four minutes into the half. Both teams struggled offensively, making a combined two out of the first twenty attempted field goals.

The 49ers gained a 17-5 lead by second chance opportunities. Nottingham scored six consecutive points to cut the advantage to eight but Long Beach pushed the lead to 24-11 with 4:44 remaining. UC Riverside closed the half on a 13-2 run by punishing Long Beach State in the paint. Nottingham’s three pointer closed the gap within two points at intermission, 24-26.

The second half was tightly contested as neither team was separated by more than four points. UCR pulled ahead 41-36, at the six minute mark, and continued to apply pressure connecting on successive layups to increase the lead 48-43 with under two minutes remaining. Energized by their 500 fans cheering, the 49ers fought their way back to a 49-49 tie.

With six seconds remaining and the game seemingly headed for overtime, Nottingham raced up the floor and was fouled with two seconds remaining. Nottingham stepped up to the line and knocked down the first but watched the second rim out. The 49ers rebounded the ball but the time expired and the Highlanders won their first conference game of the season.

UCR outscored Long Beach State, 36-14 and converted 38.9 percent (21-54) of their shots, while holding the 49ers to a dismal 24.6 percent (15-61).

Jan. 19, 2013
Highlanders 68 – Anteaters 67

After the one-point victory over the 49ers, the Highlanders followed with yet another close win on Saturday. This time, it was at the expense of the UC Irvine Anteaters. A 25-point performance from Tre’Shonti Nottingham set the tone for her team as the Highlanders earned a 68-67 win.

The Highlanders were on cruise control during the opening minutes of the game. After Irvine scored the first bucket of the match, Riverside went on to score 13 unanswered points to take a 13-2 lead at the 12:43 mark. The Highlanders managed to maintain their double-digit advantage through the majority of the first half and went into the locker rooms with a 31-18 lead.

The second half proved to be a bit more challenging for the Highlanders. The Anteaters came out aggressively and continued to chip away at Riverside’s lead. By the 11:08 mark, the lead was down to just five points. Both teams traded buckets for a short stretch, but Irvine was relentless and battled back to cut the lead to one after a three-pointer by Jennifer Tsurumoto.

With under a minute remaining, Nottingham hit two crucial free-throws to retake a three-point lead. Irvine had the final shot of the game, but the Anteaters missed a three that would have tied it. Instead, UCI settled for a two-point basket that did virtually nothing to help their cause and UC Riverside escaped with a one-point victory over the Anteaters.

Nottingham shot 8-15 from the floor to lead all players with 25. UCR’s Natasha Hadley added 14 in the Highlanders’ victory. Riverside has now won two straight and the team currently has a conference record of 2-3.

UCR will take on Pacific for the first of a two-game homestand at the Student Recreation Center on Thursday, Jan. 24.

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