Friday, March 31, 2017

Finally! Four in Phoenix

The Final Four will be played this weekend in Phoenix and there are some interesting matchups that nobody thought we would be presented with. We've come down to the Blue Blood versus the field, vying for the NCAA Men's College Basketball Championship.

Raise your hand if you had the South Carolina Gamecocks reaching the Final Four in your bracket. How about the Oregon Ducks? Maybe you had the Gonzaga Bulldogs but they were the unlikeliest of the top seeds chosen to reach this far. By far, the most popular of the national semifinal participants are the North Carolina Tar Heels -- the only blue blood college basketball program playing this weekend. To the common eye, this is the Tar Heel invitational, but don't be surprised  if these other teams make you put some respek on their name by the time it's all over.

Another way to look at field of teams is as a geographical battle because each matchup pits a school from the Pacific Northwest against a school from the Carolinas. In the first game, its Gonzaga versus South Carolina; there's good reason to cheer for both of these teams. The second game features Oregon and North Carolina.

Gonzaga is a small school that plays in a small conference, which they have dominated for the last quarter of a century. The Zags, as they're commonly referred to by, have been to 20 straight NCAA tourneys and regularly advance to the sweet 16 but that's about it. This season they were the last remaining undefeated team and held down the number one spot in the polls for a few weeks and are playing in the program's first-ever Final Four, so this might finally be their breakthrough.

This is also South Carolina's first trip to the Final Four. Although they play in a power conference, they're not known for basketball but maybe that will change since Frank Martin is the head coach. Martin is probably the top feel good story of this thing. By now you've heard about Martin's story, if not you best read up, then come back to this article. You see... nobody really cares about this team except for alumni and people with close ties to the players and staff but everybody wants to see a guy like Frank win.

Before making the Final Four, Oregon held the distinction as the team that had gone the longest time between Final Four appearances -- 78 years. They're the team that most of the haters will be rooting for since there are people who simply don't want the Tar Heels to prosper. As I just mentioned how Martin is beloved, there are folks who are calling for Dana Altman's head because of a scandal from three years ago. That situation withstanding, the Ducks are on the rise and they shouldn't be slept on.
North Carolina lost on a buzzer beater in last year's National Championship game to Villanova. Most of this year's players were on that roster and feel like they have some unfinished business -- they do. So as just reaching this point is a major accomplishment for the other teams, not cutting down the nets on Monday night will be a major disappointment for the Tar Heels. Let's leave it at that.

If you just go by what most people expect then the two number one seeds, Gonzaga and North Carolina, will play each other in the championship game on Monday. However, South Carolina is peaking at the right moment and these are the type of games where the Zags have faltered in past years and if Oregon can knock off the number one overall seed in Kansas, they can do the same to North Carolina, then we'll have a matchup versus the perceived-scumbag coach versus the loveable one. I don't see that scenario happening and, personally, want to see both west coast teams win because I've covered their games in person this year and it will make most of the country mad; CBS would have some poor ratings.

Gonzaga won't lose Saturday and North Carolina shouldn't lose, although it is a very winnable game for Oregon. I hate calling matchups before it's a certainty but will predict that Gonzaga will defeat North Carolina on Monday night.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Clippers Cruise Over Resting Cavs

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers were gift-wrapped a 108-78 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. Shortly before the start of the game, the Cavaliers announced their star players would not be playing in this game due to rest.

Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers with a game-high 23 points and seven boards. DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. J.J. Reddick chipped in 16 points.

“It’s a different game without Lebron, Kyrie, and Kevin playing, obviously,” said Griffin. “We’re not going to pretend like it’s not. But at the end of the day, you still have to go out and execute.”

It took the Clippers a quarter and a half to finally separate themselves from the short-handed Cavaliers and ease the stress of the home crowd. As they took control of the game by scoring 13 unanswered points, Cav’s coach Tyronn Lue resorted to intentionally fouling Jordan for on possession; Jordan split the pair of free throws and Lue didn’t go back to the well. That was the turning point of the game, as Cleveland didn’t have enough its arsenal to challenge the Clippers on the scoreboard.

“Guys started making shots,” said Chris Paul, who didn’t make a field goal in the game for the seventh time in his career. “I still didn’t, but I think our defense got a little better, we started getting out in transition defense.”

Griffin put an exclamation on the Clippers’ second quarter dominance with two seconds left in the first half when he caught the Cavs sleeping and came unimpeded down the lane to rebound a DeAndre Jordan missed free throw with an emphatic put-back dunk. The Clippers led 47-31 at the half and never looked back.

“The ball just kind of took several bounces, a couple of more bounces than any of us thought and I just happened to be there… I just got lucky,” said Griffin. “Our trust was high tonight, that is what I like the most.”

Even with Cleveland’s big three sitting out this game for rest, the Clippers’ recent defensive woes surfaced when Iman Shumpert sank an open 19-foot jumper then drove for an uncontested layup for the games first two baskets. 

However, the home team quickly got their affairs in order as they forced and took advantage of seven empty possessions to go on a 12-0 run.  The Cavs responded with a 14-2 run of their own, holding the Clippers scoreless for the final 3:28 of the period, to lead 16-14 after the first quarter.

The Clippers entered the game as losers of three straight and in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. Oklahoma City tied them with the same record but was in fifth place due to a tiebreaker. It was a much-needed win for Los Angeles, who play three beatable opponents in the Knicks, Lakers, and the Mavericks next on the schedule before playing the fourth-place Utah Jazz next Saturday, March 25.

Chris Paul didn’t make a field goal on eight attempts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Clippers Inches Short Against Bucks

Image result for clippers bucks 3-15

LOS ANGELES — It was a game of inches as Blake Griffin’s shot bounced off the rim and fell short at the buzzer and the Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 97-96 Wednesday at the STAPLES Center.

The Clippers (40-28) began the day two and a half games behind the Utah Jazz in the battle for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. However, Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee puts them much closer to the Memphis Grizzlies, who trail the Clippers by two games in seventh place.

The Clippers looked lethargic in the fourth quarter, showing no real fire on the court until the closing minutes.

“We couldn’t get the string of stops you need to be a great team,” said a disappointed Doc Rivers. “Either we didn’t rotate, or they made a good shot, or we fouled, we just couldn’t get multiple stops. We got a couple of good stops that cut the lead but I just thought we failed to get the big stops tonight.”

From Milwaukee’s perspective, they got the stop they needed at the right time.

“We anticipated the switch because they had been switching the whole game,” said Rivers. “We got [Griffin] the ball right in the middle of the floor with a point guard on him. Matthew Dellavedova got into his legs and the next guy challenged his shot.”

Dellavedova, who came off the bench, played a key role on the offensive end as well in the deciding fourth quarter. Dellavedova scored eight points in the closing quarter, including two big threes that threw cooled off Clipper rallies.

“I think [Dellavedova] is setting good screens, so when I see Chris Paul in front of me, I know Delly is wide open,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo. “I think he did a great job of separating, and he was able to get his feet set and knock them down.”

Dellavedova, who scored 12 points, was one of three Bucks reserve bench players that scored in double figures.  If you compare the plus/minus in the box scores, there is a huge difference between the two squads in this game.

Clippers need to find a way to be productive when their starters aren’t on the floor. Aside from the 14 points Jamal Crawford scored, the bench wasn’t effective at all. The reserve players gave back the good equity the starters built every time the unit was on the court.

Milwaukee, on the other hand, benefit from a balanced scoring attack. They featured eight players with 20 or more minutes of playing time and had six players who scored in double figures.

“When we’re unselfish and we make the extra pass, good things happen,” said Jason Kidd after the game. “We didn’t put a lot of minutes on Khris [Middleton] tonight, which is a bonus… Again, everybody who pitched in, who played, it was a big team win on the road.”

Antetokounmpo had 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in only 28 minutes. Bucks rookie point guard Malcom Brogdon is making a run at Rookie of the Year; he scored 11 points and dished out five assists.

Milwaukee (33-34) began the day with slim half game lead over Miami for the eight and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the win puts them in the seventh spot as they try to avoid a first round matchup against Cleveland.

After the game Clippers coach Doc Rivers announced that Deandre Jordan and Griffin would not be traveling with the team to Denver to play in Thursday night’s game.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

UC Davis Wins Big West Championship

Courtesy of Marlin Agoub
Anaheim, Calif. – If you needed proof that defense actually does win championships, look no further than the Honda Center on Saturday night where the UC Davis Aggies put clamps on the UC Irvine Anteaters. With a 50-47 victory, UC Davis wins its first Big West Tournament championship and earned its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.

“Before the tournament started we told the guys that the best defensive will walk away with the biggest prize and go dancing,” said UC Davis coach Jim Les. “These guys, for these three games, were dominant.”

Brynton Lemar scored 11 points in the final four minutes to lead UC Davis to victory.  In the closing moments with a 46-44 lead, Lemar was face-to-face with UC Irvine’s Luke Nelson milking the shot clock and having a conversation before he drove the lane and scored two points on a goal tending.

“I literally told him, ‘you know I worked too hard for this. I’m not going to let this slip out,’” Lemar explained. “He said, “Alright, let’s see it.’ So I took it as a challenge. I love challenges and I’m not going to back down from nobody… It was a great experience.”

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Lemar scored a game-high 20 points. Chima Moneke, who’s put back at the buzzer of the Aggies’ semifinal game earned them a championship opportunity, was selected as the Big West Tournament MVP.

“This was the toughest last four minutes I ever played,” said a delighted Moneke. “I’m just happy we won.”

J.T. Andrele scored the first points of the game for UC Davis to put them ahead on the scoreboard. It was a lead that they never gave up for the first 30 minutes, mainly because they made life hard on offense for UC Irvine.

The Aggies kept the Anteater starting backcourt of Nelson and Jaron Martin in check throughout the first half by holding them to a combined 2-8 from the field. Martin would finish with only three points total.

UC Irvine committed as many turnovers as they had field goal attempts in the first 10 minutes – nine. UC Irvine, with two minutes left in the first half, had as many points as turnovers – 11; Irvine committed 13 turnovers overall in the first half.

“They were physical, they were aggressive, the way championship basketball is often played,” said UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner. “

When they weren’t turning the ball over, the shots weren’t falling. UC Irvine shot 6-23 in the first half. UC Davis led UC Irvine 24-16 at the half. It was the lowest scoring output in any half by UC Irvine all season.

Irvine scored the first five points of the second half, sending a reminder as to why they’re the top-seeded team in the conference.  They took their first lead of the game on a Tommy Rutherford dunk, midway through the second half.

There was a lot of nervous energy in the building in closing minutes but it was apparent that nervous isn’t a word used to describe Lemar. When the Aggies started to tighten up, he was a cool as a fan, continuously driving for layups and making free throws. In the semifinal, Lemar scored nine points in the overtime period. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Moneke's Heroics Send UC Davis to First Championship Game

Courtesy of Zyaire Porter T.G.Sportstv1
Anaheim, Calif. – A put-back at the buzzer by Chima Moneke sends the UC Davis Aggies to the championship game with 66-64 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans in overtime.

Brynton Lemar carried the Aggies on his back during the overtime period when he scored all nine of the Aggies’ points prior to Moneke’s late-game heroics. Lemar scored a game-high 23 points.

“As a senior, I think it’s my responsibility to step up and make plays,” said Lemar. “I saw the defense sag off a little bit and they weren’t really hedging on screens. They were playing all guards. I was just trying to be aggressive and make good plays.”

Moneke finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. His physicality overwhelmed the Titans for most of the game as he continued get in the paint for his points and grabbed seven offensive rebounds, none was more important than his final one.

“I saw that [Fullerton player] just watching the shot, so I just snuck in and knew I was going to get the offensive rebound,” said Moneke. “I just tried to stay cool. I knew there was enough time for me to get it up.”

The nightcap began as a sloppily-played basketball game, although UC Davis closed out the first half strong by making eight of its last 12 shots after opening the game by making only two of its first 15 field goal attempts. Fullerton scored the first seven points of the game but went cold, scoring only 11 the rest of the half. Fullerton shot 7-31 in the first half and going scoreless in the last three minutes of the first half.

The second half was played with much more intensity than the first. Both teams were more efficient in shooting the ball, especially the Titans’ Tre’ Coogins, who took it upon himself to shoulder the load to make a ball game out of it.

UC Davis was in charge for most of the second half. It was Moneke and Lemar tag teaming with an inside to outside game for the Aggies. Moneke shot 16 free throws; putting the Cal State Fullerton bigs in foul trouble in the process, which forced them to go small for the majority of the second half.

“We got to a point where we had to play five guards, the way the whistle was going,” said Cal State Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor. “The physically beat us up and I thought they were allowed to do that tonight throughout the course of the game from the onset.”

Small ball seemed to have worked in Fullerton’s when Coogins shot from deep to give Titans a 53-51 lead that they couldn’t keep because found his way to the foul line for a pair of free throws to tie the game at 53. A pair of free throws by Coogins gave the Titans another lead but Lemar drove to a short post for a jumper with 20 seconds left that put the game into overtime.

The win sends UC Davis to its first trip to the Big West championship game since they entered the league in the 2007-08 season. They will face UC Irvine who defeated Long Beach State in the first semifinal game.

UC Irvine Throws Block Party in Semifinal Win

Courtesy of Zyaire Porter T.G.Sportstv1
Anaheim, Calif. – Defense wins championships, and thanks to the block party that Jonathan Galloway and UC Irvine Anteaters threw in the semifinals of the Big West tournament, they will get an opportunity to play for one as they defeated the Long Beach State 49ers 62-57 on Friday night.
The Anteaters blocked a season-high 10 shots, which is the second most in Big West Tournament history. Galloway blocked five shots, including a block on a Noah Blackwell drive that stymied a 49er comeback.

“My job, one of them, is to protect the rim,” said Galloway, who scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds. “As long as my team is doing their job, that allows me to defend and stop the ball.”

 Galloway started off the scoring for UC Irvine with two buckets inside, one on a tip and another on a turnaround jumper. Jaron Martin picked up where he left off from the first round by scoring 10 points in the first half that included two three pointers.  Martin, who scored a game-high 18 points, also played a key role on defense with three steals.

“We defend first before we think about the offensive side,” said Martin. “As long as we defend and rebound, the main thing for us is getting back in transition. That’s the emphasis, I think we did that pretty good today and I’m proud of the win.”

49ers' Justin Bibbins, started by missing his first six shots but made his final two of the first half.  Bibbins shot four of 15 in the game. As a whole, Long Beach State only made 32 percent of their attempts.

“That was the whole focus of our defensive game plan in shoot-around today,” said UC Irvine coach Russell Turner. “Defend his (Bibbins) pick-and-roll. He’s crafty… He’s going to be one of the guys favored to be Player of the Year next year.

The 49ers shooting struggles could very well be attested to the defensive play of the Anteaters, who were contesting every 49ers shot not giving a clean look.  UC Irvine led 31-25 at halftime.

Martin made UCI’s first two baskets of the second half and Long Beach State’s deficit, once again, grew to nine points with 17 minutes left in the game, and that’s about the time they started to claw its way back into the contest. They used an 8-0 run to take their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 46-42.

The Anteaters immediately responded with a seven-point run of their own when Luke Nelson stopped the bleeding with a three pointer followed by a mid-range jumper, he then got out in transition and assisted on a Martin layup.  That was the last lead change as the top-seeded Anteaters continued to come up with stops to close the game.

“They defended us well tonight and we battled, but they were better than us,” said Monson. “In the postseason, any three-minute segment can end your season. That one didn’t end our season because we had opportunities after that, but it changed the momentum of the game.”

In what appeared to be a physical first half, there were only 10 total fouls called. The 49ers only made one trip to the line, which was by Bibbins, who sank the pair; Bibbins later made two more and extended his consecutive made free throw streak to 23. Temidayo Yussuf scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the 49ers.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bibbins Scores 27 to Lead 49ers into Semis

Courtesy of Zyaire Porter T.G. Sportstv1
Anaheim, Calif. -- With a big night from Long Beach State 49ers’ point guard Justin Bibbins, they advance to the semifinals of the Big West tournament with a 73-62 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The junior guard took it upon himself to end the season for the Rainbow Warriors with his spectacular play.

“The bigs set great screens on the pick and rolls and got me open for jumpers.” said Bibbins. “I didn’t have to hunt for it, it just came to me within the offense. That’s what is great about this team… It doesn’t matter who is scoring, whoever has the hot hand, that’s who we’re going to. Tonight was just my night.”

First, it was Bibbins weaving through the defense and draining a mid-range jumper then he bounced a no look pass that found Roschon Prince in traffic, which he powered in for a bucket. That was just the start of a 19-2 run during a seven minutes and 18 seconds frame, in which they held Hawaii without a single field goal.

In contrast, Hawaii opened the game by scoring the first five points and look to seize control. For the Rainbow Warriors, it was Gibson Johnson who couldn’t be stopped in the early going, as he set the tone by making his first five baskets. After Johnson cooled off, Noah Allen carried the load for the Rainbow Warriors when he caught fire by scoring 10 consecutive team points in the last four minutes of the first half, including two three pointers. Hawaii held a 35-33 lead at halftime.

Bibbins scored 19 points in the first half on six for seven shooting, including all five of his attempts from the line. He scored nine of the 49ers’ first 13 points, which the 49ers desperately needed him to do because they struggled to put the ball in the basket throughout the first 12 minutes.

“Justin set the tone for us mentally,” said Long Beach State Head Coach Dan Monson. “He came out and was just so impressive offensively. He really carried us until we could get some other guys comfortable in the flow.”

The second half played out just like most of the game did, with the teams continuing to trade baskets. Only this time around, it was Long Beach who used a 15-6 run to take a lead they wouldn’t give up.

Hawaii 6-0 run to tie the game at 54 at 10-minute mark to make things interesting but a Bibbins jumper ended their hopes and it also jumpstarted an 10-0 run that put the 49ers in complete control of the game to easily close it out.

Bibbins was a perfect 9-9 from free throw line in the game en route to his game-high 27 points. He has now made 21 consecutive from the charity stripe.  Barry Ogalue was a perfect 7-7 from the floor in scoring 16 points. Temidayo Yussuf was also perfect from the floor; he made all four of his shots and added nine rebounds.

Long Beach State has advanced to the semifinals in eight of the last nine years.

Senior Guards lead UC Irvine into Big West Semifinal

Courtesy of Zyaire Porter T.G. Sportstv1 
Anaheim, Calif. – The top-seeded UC Irvine Anteaters (20-13) avoided a second half scare to advance to the semifinals with 76-67 defeat of the eight-seeded UC Riverside Highlanders (7-21) on Thursday night.

The backcourt duo of Luke Nelson and Jaron Martin led the way for the Anteaters. Nelson scored 19 points and dished out five assists with five rebounds. Martin also scored 19 points, 15 of them in the second half that were key to putting the Highlanders away.

One of the keys to victory for the Anteaters was the way they dominated on the glass.  Jonathon Galloway had 13 rebounds with five coming on the offensive end, which gave UCI second opportunities.

“We’re the most efficient offensive team in the league this year,” said UC Irvine Head Coach Russell Turner. “Part of our efficiency is the offensive rebounding. So on nights when the shots don’t go in, we can win extra possessions. We made a great effort to do that and I thought that was key for us.”

UCI was in control for almost the entire game; they had a game-high 14-point margin early in second half but the UC Riverside cut the lead to three points on Johnson’s jumper with 9:37 left in the game. That’s when Martin took over and settled things down.

“I just wanted to lead, that’s my duty as a senior,” said Martin. “Getting these guys calmed down and trying to figure out the best way to win. Down the stretch, I knew I needed to score more and I just tried to do what I needed to.”

Irvine held Riverside to eight made baskets on 30 percent shooting as they held a 10-point lead at halftime. Riverside forward Secean Johnson scored 13 points and half of the makes in the half but the rest of the team couldn’t buy a bucket in the first stanza.

Nelson had most of his servings early in the game as he picked his way through the defense and accumulated 14 of his points in the first half, five of them coming from the free throw line.

“They were trying to play me very aggressively, so as a scorer, I have to learn to adjust but keep playing my game,” said Nelson. “This is the game I love and every game I try to play my best.”

Johnson led UC Riverside in scoring with 22 points. Dikymbe Martin chipped in 12 points and Chance Murray added 11 points. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rainbow Wahine Find Gold as They Advance

Courtesy of Zyaire Porter/T.G.Sportstv1
The University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine led wire to wire to defeat Cal Poly Pomona Mustangs 71-50 in the night cap of opening round of the Big West Women's Basketball Tournament Tuesday.

"We had pretty good energy coming into the game," said Hawaii coach Laura Beeman. "We had good pace on offense and were able to stop them in transition."

There was often gold at the end of the rainbow jumpers when Olivia Crawford shot the ball from behind the arc for Hawaii. In a first half where both teams struggle to make baskets, Crawford made three of her four three-point attempts.

"Once Liv [Crawford] gets going, it's really good for our team," said Hawaii guard Brianna Harris. "She brought the energy from the jump. Her defense led to our offense. I'm glad what she got today."

Cal Poly shot 9-30 and Hawaii was 10-24 in a non descript first half that saw the Rainbow Wahine lead the Mustangs 28-21 at the break. The Mustang's Hannah Gilbert scored 14 of her team's 21 points.

"I think in the first half [Gilbert] got 14 of their points and another person only had four," said Beeman. "If that's going to be their scoring balance, I'm okay with that."

The second half was much more entertaining as both teams increased the tempo, which played to the advantage of Hawaii because they continued to lean on Crawford, who scored 10 points in the third period.

"Once I hit one, then I hit another one... my teammates were giving me a lot of energy," said Crawford.

Cal Poly were outscored 16-23 in the third period and were only able to stay within reach only because of Gilbert's nine points in the stanza. The game got away from them and they were never able to close the margin.

The Mustangs didn't have their lucky horse shoes tonight as they didn't make a single three pointer in the game.

Hawaii plays CSUN in the second round.

Key stat
Three-point field goals: Hawaii 10-22, Cal Poly 0-11

Top performers
Oliva Crawford, Hawaii - Blazing hot shooting stroke all night as she made five of seven three-point attempts. She made eight of eleven overall en route to her 21 points.

Brianna Harris, Hawaii - Efficiently supplemented Crawford by being making a perfect 3-3 from deep en route to scoring 16 points. She also made xx from the charity stripe

Hannah Gilbert, Cal Poly - Gilbert scored a game-high 26 points and single handedly kept the Mustangs in the game until Hawaii went on a run midway through the third quarter. She was 12-23 from the field.

UC Riverside Pummels UC Irvine in Big West Opening Round

Zyaire Porter/T.G.Sportstv1
LONG BEACH, CALIF. -- The number five-seeded UC Riverside Highlanders got off to a slow start but overcame  early jitters to rout the number eight-seeded UC Irvine Anteaters in the opening game of the Big West Women's Basketball tournament Tuesday night.

UC Irvine opened up on 12-2 run with nine of those coming on three three-point baskets by Andee Ritter and the Anteaters were thinking upset. Riverside forced eight turnovers, which led to easy points in transition and helped them settle down and go on a 20-4 blitz to take control of the game and hold  a 22-16 lead after the first quarter.  Riverside defense showed up again at the end of the second period as Irvine didn't make a basket  in the last four minutes. The Highlanders led with a 46-33 score at halftime

In the second half, the Highlanders made things difficult for the Anteaters to score when they held them to only 27 points.  Riverside put away the game with a  23-13 advantage in the third period; the margin was as close as nine points inside the first three minutes of period but the Anteaters were never able to string a solid run together.

Five players scored in double figures for UC Riverside as they advance to play UC Santa Barbara in the second round.

Turning Point
After being down 2-12 to begin the game, UCR scored 14 unanswered points and never looked back.

Key Performers
Simone Decoud, Riverside - Produced a double double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. She did most of the damage when she scored 12 of her points in first half. She made two threes and was 6-7 from the free throw line.
Lauren Holt, Riverside - Had a double double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Holt got buckets any way you can think of, whether it was driving the lane, shooting a mid range, or from behind the arc, Holt did it all, including two blocks on defense.
Michelle Curry, Riverside - Scored 20 points in the game. She continuously forced the issue by attacking the basket with physicality and caused Irvine to drop in the paint, which opened up shooters on outside.
Andee Ritter, Irvine - She made five three-point baskets in the game. After a hot start, she became the focal point of Riverside's defense. She was 7-15 from the field overall.

Post game quotes
UC Riverside Coach John Margaritas on the slow start:
"Before the game we talked about emotions of the tournament. So when that [slow start] happened, we were prepared to continue playing our game, knowing that it's 40 minutes."

Coach Margaritas on Michelle Curry:
"Her ability to stay on the floor after foul trouble played a huge role in the outcome of the game. I thought 'Either we're going to play without her and not have enough points to win or I can keep her in the game and let things go as they go.' I'd rather lose a game because a player fouled not because I thought she was going to foul out."

Lauren Holt on take away from this game:

"Just confidence... It was a great game to have under our belt. Everyone showed up. We were firing on all cylinders. We started off slow but we were able to come back. We got our nerves to calm down and settle in. The biggest thing going in to tomorrow is knowing we got our jitters out of the way and we don't have to play so tight.