Release Courtesy of UC Santa Cruz
LOS ANGELES, CA -- Key baskets down the stretch from Geena Giovannetti and Leah Parrish and crucial Free Throws by Sarah Mackey gave the Slugs a 67-62 over a stubborn Occidental Tiger team. The Slugs starters combined for 62 points. Mackey led the way with 18 points. Parrish pumped in 16. Giovannetti and Taylor Willis added 10 each and Erin Joo dropped in 8. The Slugs earn their first victory ever at Occidental College.
Mackey got the Slugs off to a quick start scoring the first five points of the game. The Tigers immediately responded knotting the score at 5 with just four minutes gone in the first half. The teams battled over the next few minutes with neither team able to gain an edge. At the 14 minute mark, the Slugs started a run. Parrish put back a Joo miss. Willis converted two free throws. Lashay Alexander hit a 12 foot jumper with a Tiger defender draped all over her and the Slugs led 15-9. Giovannetti scored seven quick points and the lead expanded to 22-13. The tide turned, however, when Mackey, Parrish, Willis and Giovannetti all picked up their second fouls. Coach Kent decided to take a chance and sit all four players. This was the critical point in the game where Occidental could have blown the game open. Alexander, Sara Crane, Jasmine Dismon, Sarah Fitzgerald and Trina Torres would not let that happen. All five made key contributions to keep the Tigers at bay. Three times the Tigers made runs but three times the Slugs responded. When Joo hit a beautiful runner, the Slugs led 30-29 at the half.
The second half was an epic battle. The Tigers took the lead with a quick three. Mackey poured in two layups and the Slugs led 35-32. Seven Tiger points were met with back to back baskets by Parrish and the teams were tied at 39 with 14 minutes to go. Over the next few minutes, the Tigers appeared to take control. Elizabeth Messick, who led the Tigers with 19 points, keyed a 9-4 run and the Tigers opened a 48-43 lead. Mackey drained two free throws and Willis twinkled the twine with a clutch 3. The Slugs erased the Tiger lead. The game would come down to the final 2 minutes with the Slugs leading 60-57. Two critical plays determined the game. Giovannetti, who had several shots rim in and out, took aim on a three that found the bottom of the net. Parrish fought for an offensive rebound and the put back gave the Slugs a five point lead with 22 second to go. The Tigers scored and immediately fouled Mackey. Mackey converted the pressure pack free throws and the Slugs escaped with a win.
The Slugs set a school record with their 15th win and next face a rematch with Bethesda College Saturday on Senior Night at Kaiser Permanente Arena.