SANTA CRUZ (12-30) – UC Santa Cruz finished up the 2019 calendar year hosting University of Dubuque at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Banana Slugs never trailed and defeated the Spartans 80-54.
UCSC improved to 6-8 and broke a three-game losing streak. In the first quarter, UCSC started on a 14-2 run capped by a CJ Catina three-pointer with 4:45 left in the quarter. The Spartans responded with an 8-2 run, capped by a Lauren Griffith free throw, to trim the Banana Slugs' lead to 16-10 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Spartans came as close as two at 16-14, on a Kennedy Litvinoff layup with 8:40 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 7-0 run, capped by an Ashley Kowack jumper with 5:44 left, for a 23-14 lead and gained a double-digit lead, at 27-17, on Savannah Henson's free throw with 4:18 left. The Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the half at seventeen on a layup by Kowack and led 39-22 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Spartans got within seventeen at 43-26. The Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the quarter at twenty-eight, at 59-31, on a Powell three-pointer with 1:17 left and led 61-37 at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Banana Slugs would hold the Spartans at arms' length. The Spartans would come as close as twenty-two, at 61-39, on Tabria Thomas's steal and layup with 9:58 left. The Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the ballgame at 78-49, on an Alaina Alvarez three-pointer with 1:57 left.
Kowack had a game-high twenty-three points for the Banana Slugs. Kaylee Murphy had twenty points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. Maddy Miller added eight points on a perfect 4-4 day along with nine rebounds and season-high seven blocks. Bailey and Jaden Kelley had ten points apiece off the bench for Dubuque.
The Banana Slugs shot 45.3% (29-64) from the field, 25% (7-28) from the three-point line and were 65.2% (15-23) from the free throw line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty-seven Spartans' turnovers while the Spartans' defense forced twenty turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded University of Dubuque 46-32 and the Banana Slugs had nineteen more points off turnovers (35-16) than did the Spartans.
The next game for the Banana Slugs will be January 12th as they take on NCCAA member Bethesda University of California at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Game time is set for 1 pm.