This Friday, Menlo College couldn’t keep up with SF State women’s basketball’s quick shifts to offense. The Gators outran the Lady Oaks for most of the game, allowing them to score at will and coast to a 66-58 victory.
“We really try to get the ball up and down the court in a hasty manner,” head coach Joaquin Wallace said. “Our mission is transition and we feel that we can run with anybody. Tonight was a great indication of that.”
SF State continually grabbed defensive rebounds throughout the game and sprinted up-court, giving their opponents little time to set up defense. As a result, the Gators were effective in the paint, racking up easy points on uncontested layups and bank shots under the basket.
Three Gators scored in the double-figures: Katie Batlin had her second consecutive double-double – 15 points and 11 rebounds – while Jennifer Le added 15 points and Lauren Varney added 12. Together, the trio accounted for nearly two-thirds of the team’s total points.
Le credits her team’s strategic aggressiveness for the win. “The whole night we were focused on attacking [the post players] down low,” she said. “We watched tape the past few days and noticed that [they] were kind of weak. So we were trying to attack them as much as possible and throw the ball down low to Lauren in the post.”
When the defense caught on and began collapsing on Varney, Le began taking the ball to the basket herself. “I attacked the rim way more than I usually do,” the point guard said. “Coach [Wallace] put in a play for me, it’s just a basic screen at the top [of the key] and I drive to the basket. That worked several times in a row, so I just continued to do that.”
While the Gators’ offense was a crucial factor in their win, their defensive containment of Menlo’s All-American point guard Jolise Limcaco was just as important.
“[Limcaco] was our biggest challenge [coming into the game],” Wallace said. “We identified her early in our scouting report and knew that if we could stop her, we would win the game. We were able to take her out of the game – she only scored two points – which eliminated their offense. Usually they score around 70 points a game.”
SF State took the lead away from Menlo early in the first half and never gave it up, scoring back-to-back points that extended their lead to 44-31 by halftime.
Late in the second half, Menlo attempted to go on a scoring run of its own, cutting the lead to six with 23 seconds left on the clock. But Batlin was able to keep the Gators out of reach and clinch the victory after getting fouled and sinking both of her final free throws.
SF State’s win against Menlo was its second win straight, giving it a 2-0 record to start the season. Next, SF State will take on the Santa Clara Broncos Nov. 20 in its final exhibition game before conference play begins.