Season ends for women's basketball on a loss to Chico Wildcats

Gators Center Dominique Hunter grabs a rebound against a Chico State player in the final home game for the women Gators on Feb 25, 2011. Karen M. Kinney / staff photographer

Story by Al Scott

The SF State women’s basketball team ended its season Friday in disappointment when they succumbed to the Chico State Wildcats by eight points, eliminating them from a possible spot in the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

The Gators lost 60-52 despite being up by as much as 18 points early in the second half. Defensive pressure gave the Wildcats a way back into the game as they collected 13 steals.

“We got away from what we were doing in the first half,” said freshman point guard Erica Greer. “We stopped doing what we do best which is running our plays to hit the open man.”

Careless mistakes and ill-advised passing allowed the Wildcats to force 16 turnovers while yielding only four field goals in the second half. Chico State’s Taylor Lydon led the way for the Wildcats with 14 points, connecting on three of her nine three-point baskets, contributing to her team’s 40 percent shooting in the second half.

Meanwhile, no Gator had a consistent offensive rhythm. Freshman guard Erica Greer only attempted two shots the entire game. Sophomore Nicole Hicks had just eight points following her career high 26-point performance the night before.

The only bright spot for the Gators Friday came as no surprise. Dominique Hunter, the lone senior on the team kept SF State competitive as Chico rallied to take the lead in the middle of the second period. Hunter had one of the best games of her college career with 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and six blocks. As for the rest of the team, they seemed deflated, if not exhausted, as they watched the Wildcats take control of the game.

“The team wanted to win as much as I did,” Hunter said. “In the end, we’ve had our ups and downs. I’m really proud how they stuck behind me this year.”

After four years with the team, Hunter’s career with the SF State women’s basketball team ended.  She made her exit being the only player in school history to record more than 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 200 blocks.

Hunter inherited the role as the uncontested team leader this year after the Gators lost seven seniors from the previous year. It is a role that she accepted and embraced as her teammates and coaches admired her leadership capabilities on and off the court. With the Gators having the youngest team in the CCAA conference and 10 freshmen on the original roster, it is a role that Hunter could fully utilize.

“She’s our leader,” Greer said. “She came in as senior knowing that she was going to have deal with a whole bunch of freshmen, which I know is a hard task. Much respect to her.”

Hunter was recognized with a brief reception before tipoff on her last home game of her career.  She was greeted with balloons, flowers and gifts in appreciation for her accomplished contributions with the team.

Now that the season is over, coach Joaquin Wallace knows he must recruit and rebuild, but also knows that Hunter will not be an easy replacement.

“Dominique was my first home recruit,” Wallace said. “She’s like my daughter. There will never be another player like her that’s accomplished what she’s accomplished that I’ve coached.”

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