Merced, Calif. - The women's basketball team battled back from a late deficit to send the game into overtime, but eventually lost to the Bobcats of UC Merced 77-69. The Bobcats defeated the Golden Eagles behind a game-high 37 points from Shelby Howard and some strong free throw shooting down the stretch.
The first half proved to be a back-and-forth contest, but the Golden Eagles never quite seemed to find their rhythm. La Sierra did benefit from a modest 30-25 lead at the half, and quickly pushed the lead to seven points early in the second half. But that would prove to be the largest and last lead they would enjoy for the rest of the evening.
The Bobcats methodically chipped away at the lead and eventually built their lead to 12 points with just over two minutes remaining in the game. But the Golden Eagles weren't done. With under a minute to play, the Golden Eagles had erased the 12-point deficit to trail by only two points, when Natalia Hawthorne's finger roll tied the score at 65-65. After the Bobcats missed their attempt to regain the lead, the Golden Eagles had a chance to steal with victory with nine seconds remained but were unable to convert, sending the game into overtime.
The Bobcats controlled the overtime, as Howard connected on one of her 9-of-12 three-point shots to take the early lead. Merced never looked back.
In the loss, the Golden Eagles struggled to shoot the ball, but they did finish with 69 total points and had four players score in double figures.
Hawthorne led the Golden Eagles with 25 points, followed by Victoria Lowe who tallied 15 points, six rebounds, and two assists.
Brittani Walker had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, including five assists and two steals. Joirdan Jones added 10 points, six rebounds, and two assists. And Shelby Madigan rounded things out with 10 rebounds, eight points, two steals, and two assists.
The women's basketball team falls to 11-12 on the season (5-3 in Cal Pac play). They will host Cal State San Marcos on Thursday evening in a non-conference game starting at 5:30pm, followed by a conference match-up with Cal Maritime on Saturday night, at 6:30pm.