Women’s Basketball Rallies Back to Beat the Otters

Anthony Quach, Staff Reporter

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After being defeated by the Cal State East Bay Pioneers on Homecoming Night last Thursday on Feb. 7, the Cal State LA women’s basketball team looked to get back on track as they took on the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) game at University Gym on Sat, Feb. 9.

The Golden Eagles were able to get back into the win column, as they defeated the Otters, 73-64. They were also able to prevent the Otters from winning their first game of the season.

The Otters jumped out to an early 21-15 lead after the first quarter, and continued their offensive onslaught into the second quarter, leading by as many as 14 points. The Golden Eagles scored seven unanswered points to close out the first half, as they trailed to the Otters 35-30.

The Otters shot better than the Golden Eagles in the first half, with a shooting percentage of 40.7, while the Golden Eagles shot 33.3 percent from the field. The Otters were 5-of-10 from 3-point range while the Golden Eagles were only 2-of-8 from beyond the arc.

The second half began the same way as the first half ended, with the Golden Eagles going on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 37-35 over the Otters. The lead did not last as the Otters scored eight unanswered points of their own to take back the lead 43-35.

The Otters would stretch their lead to as many as nine points, but the Golden Eagles managed to pull within three as the third quarter ended with the Otters leading 51-48.

As the fourth quarter got underway, the momentum shifted towards the Golden Eagles. After jumpers by Golden Eagles’ junior guard Jolene Robinson and junior center Rebeccah DiRegolo, the Golden Eagles re-took the lead, 52-51.

Once they had the lead, they never gave it up, outscoring the Otters, 25-13 in the fourth quarter to win the game, 73-64.

“We just focused on one possession at a time,” said Golden Eagles Interim Head Coach Torino Johnson.

“We were able to go from defense to triggering our transitional offense and being able to score on fast break which was pivotal for us in our efforts to win the game.”

The Golden Eagles turned up their offense and defense in the second half holding the Otters to a shooting percentage of 28.9, while the Golden Eagles shot 50 percent from the field. The Golden Eagles also shot better from the free throw line, as they were 13-of-16, while the Otters were 4-of-7.

Overall, the Golden Eagles shot 41.3 percent from the field, and made 19-of-25 from the free throw line. The Otters had a shooting percentage of 33.8, and shot 12-of-15 from the free throw line.

Both teams had 18 points off turnovers, but the Golden Eagles had the edge with points in the paint, as they outscored the Otters 32-22. The Golden Eagles also outscored their opposition with points off the bench, 39-21.

Golden Eagles’ junior guard Madison Adams led her team in scoring with 22 points, shooting 8-of-11 from the field with three steals and 4 rebounds. Her teammate, senior guard Chiderah Uzowuru picked up a double-double, as she scored 13 points and racked up 10 rebounds. Golden Eagles’ senior guard Christine Delapina and junior guard Jo Ana Adams were also in double figures in scoring, with 12 and 10 points respectively.

“To be able to win this game, after losing the Homecoming game, it allowed us to get our confidence back up,” said Adams.
According to Coach Johnson, a win like this boosts the confidence and morale of the team.
“You never want to get use to losing, and we’re trying to build towards our future and our future starts now with our style of play,” said Johnson.

After Saturday’s win, the Golden Eagles are now 8-13 overall this season. They remain in 12th place of the CCAA with a record of 5-12. The Golden Eagles are also 2.5 games back from eighth place in the CCAA with five conference games remaining this season.

The Golden Eagles will be in exhibition action today as they travel to Malibu to take on the Pepperdine Waves, a Division I team in the West Coast Conference.

Afterwards, the Golden Eagles will continue their road trip, as they return to CCAA action on Thu, Feb. 14, to take on Cal State San Marcos Cougars. They will then head to UC San Diego to battle the first-place Tritons on Sat, Feb. 16.

“We have to play better than our opponents and have a better will to win,” said Adams.

The last time the Golden Eagles played the Cougars and the Tritons, they were on the losing end of both games. Against the Cougars, the Golden Eagles lost 89-87 and against the Tritons, the Golden Eagles lost 81-72.

“As a coaching staff, we’re going through our scouting reports and we’ll see what worked the first time and what didn’t. We’re going to go in this together,” said Coach Johnson.

“I think that’s the best part about this is that we’re cultivating the right type of energy as team, and we want to make sure we sustain that.”

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