Release Courtesy of UC Santa Cruz Athletics
MERCED, CA -- The Slugs overcame a slow start and an injury to Leah Parrish to defeat the UC Merced Bobcats 80-71. With their second leading scorer out, the Slugs needed other players to step up. Sarah Mackey responded with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 6 blocks. Erin Joo added 19 Points and 4 assists and Geena Giovannetti poured in 18 points and snatched 6 rebounds.
This game was far from easy. The Slugs could not find the basket early and trailed 8-2. Mackey led the comeback scoring seven straight points over the much smaller Bobcats. The Slugs rallied to take a 12-10 lead. Over the next few minutes the team traded baskets. Whenever the Slugs seemed poised to break the game open the Bobcats responded. The Bobcats held a slim 31-29 lead at the 5 minute mark. The Slugs finally asserted themselves over the last 5 minutes outscoring the Bobcats 16-4. Joo delivered a three and a beautiful pass to set up an easy basket for Mackey. Giovannetti hit two free throws. Trina Torres converted a critical three pointer and hit Giovannetti for a sweet 3 pointer at the buzzer to give the Slugs a 44-36 half time lead.
The second stanza was a mirror of the first. Every time the Slugs extended the lead to double digits, the Bobcats came back. Layups by Giovannetti and Joo extended the lead to 50-39 but the Bobcats would not quit. Merced converted back to back turnovers in baskets and cut the lead to 57-49 with 11 minutes to go. Sarah Crane started another Slug run with a tough layup in traffic and a beautiful assist to Mackey. When Taylor Willis hit the cutting Giovannetti with a lovely back door pass, the Slugs led 65-51.
The Bobcats came back one last time cutting the lead to 8 but the Slugs made enough free throws down the stretch to secure a 80-71 victory.
The Slugs continue the season at home against Pacific Union on Sat. Jan 11th at 7pm.