Women’s basketball team splits PacWest challenge at home

The Sonoma State University women’s basketball team tipped off its preseason on familiar grounds, hosting the CCAA/PacWest Challenge in the Wolves’ Den this weekend. The Seawolves outplayed Notre Dame de Namur 68-58 in the first round, but couldn’t capture Dominican, who took the 15-point victory 94-79. 

In their 2017-18 opener against the Argonauts, impenetrable defense coupled with an offensive spurt allowed the Seawolves to gain a 9-0 lead in the first seven minutes of play. The Argonauts eventually snuck through the Wolves’ thick defensive skin, tacking on eight points by the end of the first quarter, while Sonoma State held a relatively stagnant 12 points. 

The second quarter gave Notre Dame its first lead of the night, 13-12, which quickly swung back in favor of the Seawolves when senior guard Madison Burroughs sank two layups and senior center Jerrica Crosby hit a jumper. Offensively reignited, four more Seawolves added to the score, ending the quarter ahead by one possession, 28-25. 

Both teams fought hard in the third quarter, battling three lead changes. With seven points under her belt from the first half, Burroughs went off, adding ten more points and putting the Seawolves at their 47-45 advantage. Her offensive outburst didn’t stop there – the 5”10’ Alamo native tacked on another nine points in the final quarter, pulling the Seawolves to their first victory of the season, 68-58. 

“I know I sound ridiculous saying this, but I never realize when I start scoring like that,” Burroughs said. “I try to have the same mentality throughout the whole game when it comes to being an offensive threat. I only notice and have to change my focus when we aren’t making shots or playing efficient offense, because that’s when a change needs to be made.” 

Burroughs shot an impressive 69 percent from the field, totaling 26 points and four rebounds in 36 minutes on the court. Sam Erisman, Jessica Mitz, and Crosby each added 13, six, and seven points respectively. Ugochi Anudokem cleaned up the boards with six rebounds, while Crosby and Taylor Todd each gathered five. 

A day later the Seawolves fell to undefeated Dominican, who held control for nearly the entire game. 

The match remained scoreless for more than two minutes until the Penguins finally found the bottom of the net for the 2-0 lead. The Seawolves kept the first seven minutes close, not allowing easy shots but also unable to connect offensively. 

With Dominican’s lead at 9-8, it continued to add to the deficit, eventually pulling away to a 19-11 lead to end the first quarter. The second quarter allowed the Penguins to slip further away, closing out the half 43-28. 

The Seawolves knew they needed a comeback. Serena Santos and Erisman each hit a three-pointer to open the third, closing in on the 46-34 lead. 

Unfortunately, while Dominican slowly added to its score, the Seawolves were offensively idle for a little too long, allowing the Penguins to gather the 57-38 lead before Anudokem rekindled the offense with a quick four points and Burroughs added two more. Mitz and Molly Donovan each hit a jumper before the quarter ended with a 69-48 Penguin lead. 

With only 10 minutes to secure a 21-point swing, the Seawolves attempted the comeback, coming within 10 points of Dominican, 78-68. With too little time on the clock for the Seawolves, the Penguins were able to close out the game, adding 16 points in the remaining five minutes to secure the 94-79 victory. 

“They played us in a 2-3 zone and our offense was hindered because of it,”  Burroughs said. “We should’ve been more fluid in our motions, but we became stagnant and it really affected us. We fell into a slump, and it seemed hard to change that issue.” 

Despite the loss, the Seawolves put their resilience on display. Anudokem snagged her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Mitz had 11 points and four steals, and Burroughs claimed 16 points, four assists, and four steals. 

“I honestly wanted to win so bad and play well against them, that was the only thing going through my head,” Anudokem said. “Plus it was a personal thing; my old school [Concordia University] played them twice and lost both times.” 

After the weekend, the Seawolves have a 1-1 overall record. 

The team will play their next game  at 6 p.m. on Tuesday against Holy Names in the Wolves’ Den.