SANTA CRUZ (12-1) – UC Santa Cruz completed the UCSC Thanksgiving Classic as they hosted Birmingham Southern College at West Field House. The Banana Slugs outscored the Panthers by fifteen in the second quarter and won 81-69.
In the first quarter, the two teams started the game trading baskets for the first 2:40 of the quarter. The Banana Slugs would gain an 11-8 lead with 4:42 left, on an Ashley Kowack layup. From that point, the Panthers went on a 10-0 run, capped by an Emilee Olsen layup with thirty-nine seconds left in the quarter, to give the Panthers their largest lead of the quarter at 18-11 and lead 18-13 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the Panthers started on a 6-0 run to gain their largest lead of the ballgame at eleven, at 24-13 with 8:27 left in the half. From that point, the Banana Slugs went on a 13-0 run, capped by Maddie Brauer's three pointer, to take the lead for good at 26-24 with 4:37 left in the half. The Banana Slugs outscored the Panthers 16-8 over the remainder of the half, capped by Kaylee Murphy's buzzer-beater and would lead 42-32 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Panthers would come as close as three, at 56-53, with 1:52 left in the quarter. The Banana Slugs would end the quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by Amanda Inserra's three-pointer, for a 63-53 lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs started on a 10-2 run, capped by a Savannah Henson layup, to gain their largest lead of the ballgame at 73-55 with 7:13 left. The Panthers would go on an 11-3 run, capped by a Derienne Black jumper, to trim the Banana Slugs' lead to 76-66 with 2:58 left. However, the Banana Slugs scored the last five points of the game to earn the win.
Kowack had fifteen points for the Banana Slugs, Murphy had twelve along with team-highs of eleven rebounds and six assists. Emily Mitchell scored eleven and Maddy Miller had a season-high six blocks off the bench in the win. Olsen had a game-high twenty-six points and eighteen rebounds for the Panthers and Black had sixteen points.
The Banana Slugs shot 47.7% (31-65) from the field, 31% (9-29) from the three-point line and were 66.7% (10-15) from the free throw line. The Panthers shot 41.8% (23-55) from the field, 20% (2-10) from the three-point line and 100% (21-21) from the foul line.
UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty-one Panther turnovers, scoring twenty-four points off the turnovers.
UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Birmingham Southern 37-31 and had nineteen more points off the bench (25-6) than did the Panthers. The next game for the Banana Slugs will be the University of Puget Sound Friday at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Game time is set for 5 pm.