against the top-ranked team in Division II, the UC San Diego Tritons.
The Gators, who got 10 points and 12 rebounds from Shokoor, were able to hang with the Tritons for most of the game, getting within nine points with 5:12 remaining, before the Tritons began to pull away with the help of Emily Osga’s game-high 18 points.
“We missed a ton of layups and put backs under the basket,” SF State head coach Joaquin Wallace said. “If we’re not able to make the easy shots then it’s difficult to beat anyone, especially the number one team in the country.”
The Gators dug themselves a hole in the first half, trailing 36-24 heading into halftime. The lead would prove to be too much for the Gators to overcome, despite a strong second half showing, in which they were only outscored by one point, 32-31. That brought the final score to 68-55.
“I thought we were playing the ranking more than the players in the first half,” Wallace said. “We proved we could play with anybody, it’s just whether we can sustain it for 40 minutes.”
Junior Nicole Hicks, who scored 12 points on 5-for-16 shooting, collecting seven rebounds in the process, led the way for the Gators Saturday.
“We fought to the end. We tried to make a comeback but they made a lot of three point shots,” Hicks said. “We can hang with anyone in the conference, we have a lot of talent on our team.”
The Tritons took a commanding 59-41 lead after a layup by forward Erin Dautremont before the Gators went on a 9-0 run led by Hicks and junior Michaela Booker, who combined for six points and collected two steals during that SF State run.
In addition to the contributions by Hicks and Shokoor, sophomore forward Lauren Varney added 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting from the field, snatching eight key boards as the Gators out-rebounded the Tritons 45-35, despite being out-sized by the bigger Tritons.
The Gators, who have won four of their last seven, are eighth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with a 5-9 conference mark and a 6-14 overall record.
“I think we progressed, but we still have stuff to work on,” said junior guard Charnay Bell. “We’re young, we can do nothing but get better.”
Bell, who led the Gators with three assists and two steals, believes that the team is heading in the right direction and has the potential to surprise some people.
“I think we’re going to go on a big run in these last eight games we have and make the playoffs,” Bell said. “We’ll show everybody that we’re a better team than everybody thinks we are.”
SF State lost earlier in the season against the same Tritons team 79-44, so the Gators have some positives to take away, despite the tough loss.
“We’ll see them in the playoffs,” Bell added.
The Gators travel to Turlock, Calif., Friday to take on Cal State Stanislaus in another CCAA matchup.