The Gators beat the odds today as they struck down the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters’ undefeated record after beating them 49-38.
Although they allowed the Otters to have a seven-point lead in the first half, the Gators caught up before it ended. Sophomore forward Farrah Shokoor tied up the score at half after making a layup with 20 seconds left.
“I thought we bounced back well,” head coach Joaquin Wallace said. “They’re a pretty good team, obviously Monterey – they’re ranked to win our conference.”
Starting the second half, the Gators increased their defensive pressure on the Otters, preventing them from scoring for almost nine minutes straight.
“Our focus for today was to start playing defense better than we have in the past so we really focused on our defense in the second half,” said junior guard Angela Van Sickel, who scored three 3-point shots in the second half.
The Gators began to pull away with a lead when Van Sickel and senior guard Nicole Hicks made some quick inside plays to Shokoor, assisting her two shots and bringing their lead to six points in less than a minute.
After leaving the Otters scoreless for most of the first half of the second period, the Gators increased their lead to 16 points with about eight minutes left to play. They ended the game with a 35.9 field goal percentage.
“Today we made some shots, obviously, in the second half,” Wallace said. “We got them on their heels.”
Ending the game with 15 points, Shokoor said she felt relieved to win at home.
“But, we should always be doing this,” she said. “It’s not like something new. We had it.”
Wallace said the team played well overall and hopes bring it over to future games.
“We felt, coming into the game, (that) we didn’t want to get swept at home,” he said “So, at least if we get a split, we’ll be good to go and to get a split against the best team in our conference, that says a lot. It gives us a lot of confidence and hopefully we can take this momentum into our non-conference schedule, and back into conference.”
The Gators return to the road on Dec. 11 to play a non-conference game against Dominican University at 6 p.m.