SANTA CRUZ (12-17) – UC Santa Cruz played the opening game of the Ninth UCSC December Classic, hosting Monmouth College of Illinois at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Fighting Scots defeated the Banana Slugs 59-57.
In the first quarter, the Fighting Scots started the game on a 16-4 run and led 21-8 at the end of the quarter. In the second quarter, the Fighting Scots would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at fifteen, at 23-8, with 8:35 left in the half. The Banana Slugs then went on a 17-6 run, capped by a layup by Maddy Miller with 1:07 left in the half, to trim the Fighting Scots lead to 29-25, but Monmouth led 31-25 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Fighting Scots led 33-25 with 9:48 left, but the Banana Slugs went on a 7-0 run, capped by Emily Mitchell's three pointer with 7:38 left, to trim the lead to 33-32. The Fighting Scots inflated their lead to between three and six points for the remainder of the quarter and led 46-43 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs started on a 6-0 run, capped by an Ashley Kowack layup with 6:08 left, for their largest lead of the ballgame at 49-46. Monmouth would answer with a 7-1 run to give the Fighting Scots the lead at 53-50. CJ Catina would tie the game for the Banana Slugs, at 57-57, with a corner three with 0:37 left. With two seconds left however, Gallis made a jumper in the lane to give Monmouth the lead back at 59-57. On the ensuing Banana Slugs' possession, the Scots' Yvonne Ornelas stole the ball, preserving the two-point victory.
Kaylee Murphy had sixteen points, fourteen rebounds and a career-high seven steals for the Banana Slugs. Catina had ten and Kowack had eight points and three assists. Gallis had a game-high twenty-three points for the Fighting Scots.
The Banana Slugs shot 29.2% (21-72) from the field, 20.8% (5-24) from three and 58.8% (10-17) from the free throw line. Monmouth shot 35.7% (20-56) from the field, 28.6% (2-7) from the three-point line and 89.5% (17-19) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty-two turnovers while the Fighting Scots' defense forced ten UCSC turnovers. Monmouth outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 48-41.
The next game for the Banana Slugs will be Thursday as they take on No. 16 Transylvania University at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Game time is set for 4 pm.