The SF State Gators (4-12) seasonal woes continued Friday night, as they were blown out 39-70 by the California State University East Bay Pioneers (14-4).
The Gators kept pace with the Pioneers throughout the first three quarters, but an abysmal fourth quarter was their downfall.
Going into the fourth, the Gators trailed 35-43. SF State was then outscored by 23 points in the fourth quarter. A combination of poor communication and effort was to blame for the Gators second loss of the season to the Pioneers, according to Gator guard Brittaney Allison.
“We didn’t play well as a team,” Allison said. “We didn’t play hard, we didn’t work hard and we didn’t communicate. I felt we could have played harder. We just didn’t gel like we usually do.”
Allison led the Gators with nine points. No Gator scored in the double digits, while the Pioneers had four players in double digits. Pioneer Shannon Bland led all scorers with 16 points.
At halftime, the Gators were outshooting the Pioneers with an efficient 38 percent from the field. The field goal percentage tumbled to 30 percent in the second half though, after the Gators shot 4 for 21.
The Gators were also pounded on the glass. They gave up 15 offensive rebounds, which was unacceptable according to head coach Dennis Cox.
“The biggest difference between that team that we played tonight and us is that they play tougher and stronger,” Cox said. “We’re not strong around the basketball. Our ball skills are not strong, we’re getting the ball stripped too easily, our passes are too soft and there’s some decision making that hurt. If we could play stronger and tougher that would help us a lot.”
The Gators did manage to continue to block shots at an impressive rate. Kiara Ginwright, the nation’s leader in blocked shots per game, had another four blocks on the night.
“The blocks were nice,” Ginwright said. “But we lost our focus and communication as a team. If I’m not focused it doesn’t help with the rebounds. If I’m not focused and the team’s not focused, it throws off the whole thing.
Moving forward, Coach Cox stressed the importance of his team being able to play for a full four quarters.
“We have a game plan, and we expect to execute that game plan for four quarters,” Cox said. “For whatever reason, it seems like at some point in the game we just have this lapse. We go into a funk and we can’t get a basket.”
The Gators will look to improve upon their 2-8 conference record Saturday night, when they face off against the California State University Monterey Bay Otters.