The UCR women’s basketball team closed their two-game home series against California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo (SLO) with another unfortunate loss. The Mustangs came into the game building upon the momentum generated by Game 1.
UCR was quick to get the ball, but a turnover led senior forward Sierra Campisano to open up the game for the Mustangs. SLO managed to get an extra 3 points before senior guard Keilani Cooper could open up the game for the Highlanders with two back-to-back jumpers. This prompted the Mustangs to go on a 7-0, putting them in the lead 12-4 within the first five minutes. Both teams then went on a quick back-and-forth before a foul in the Highlander’s favor led to successfully shooting two free throws. The score was now 16-10 with the Mustangs still in the lead with just over three minutes left in the first quarter. SLO gained 2 more points before sending UCR to the free-throw line again, the shots scored by redshirt junior forward Daphne Gnago. The Mustangs gained another 2 points and fouled the Highlanders, giving them 2 more points as well. No more than one minute later, UCR returned to shoot two more free throws, scoring only one. This allowed them to get within seven points, 20-13 with over two minutes left in the first quarter. Quickly after, Gnago returned to the charity line to sink two more free throws. Both teams then went on the offensive, UCR making a layup while SLO managed to make two. The quarter ended 24-17 with SLO in the lead.
Both teams came eager into the second quarter, UCR gaining 4 points while SLO gained 2 in the first minute of the game. Freshman guard Joy Campbell of UCR managed to get in a quick layup, leaving the scoreboard 26-23 with eight minutes left in the first half. Both teams tightened their defense, not allowing them to score in the following two minutes. The Mustangs broke the silence with a 3-pointer to which the Highlanders replied with a nice jumper. SLO snuck in another layup followed by a shot from deep for UCR. The scoreboard was 31-28 with well over five minutes left in the first half. Freshman forward Suzan Kinran scored a 3-pointer that scored the game for the Highlanders 31-31. A quick 4-2 run for the Mustangs put them up 35-33 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, UCR was eager to cut their deficit against SLO. Both teams traded layups early on in the third quarter. A 3-pointer from Cooper put the Highlanders in a 1-point lead, making the score 38-37 with well over seven minutes left. SLO then tightened up, leaving UCR scoreless for the rest of the quarter. SLO went on a huge 14-0 run, closing out the quarter 52-38. The Mustang’s senior forward Sierra Campisano led the charge for SLO, scoring a total of 23 points for her team.
Into the fourth quarter, UCR did their best to stay in the fight despite SLO’s comfortable lead. The Mustangs used the momentum they created in the third quarter to go on a 5-0 run before UCR could get in a free throw. The scoreboard was left 57-39 with seven minutes left in the game. Both teams seemed to close upon each other in the final quarter. UCR did their best to keep up, but unfortunately, the deficit created in the third quarter proved to be too big. UCR managed to score 14 more points, while SLO gained 10. SLO closed the game 67-53, a 2-0 series for the Mustangs.
Compared to the previous game, UCR did definitely improve, achieving a higher field goal and free throw percentage. In fact, UCR led in 3-pointer and free throw attempts. Despite their best efforts, the deficit created at the beginning of the second half was a big one.
“It obviously wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for,” said Head Coach Nicole Powell in a UCR press release. “Being down two starters didn’t help, but we still need to be able to adjust when these situations come up. We can do better. We will keep our focus, get back to work and prepare for next weekend.”
The women’s basketball team for UCR is looking forward to coming back on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. against California State University Fullerton.