The SF State Gators women’s basketball team entered Thursday’s contest against the Cal State University Los Angeles Golden Eagles on a three-game losing streak, but were in good shape to end it facing the Golden Eagles – losers of eight straight. However, the Golden Eagles came in and looked like a team that was tired of losing. They took an early lead and never gave it back as the Golden Eagles took the victory over the Gators with a final score of 50-39.
For the better part of the first quarter, the Gators were looking like the better team, although neither team looked good to start. A single point wasn’t scored within the first two minutes of the game.
The Gators were able to get the ball to their offensive leader Jhaina Stephens down low and let her use her physicality to get the ball in the bucket. LA wasn’t able to hit anything from the perimeter, showing little threat from the outside. The Gators were able to take advantage of this early by eliminating anything in the paint. Then late within the opening quarter, LA found a surge on offense by taking advantage of the Gators lack of ball control. Eight of the Golden Eagles’ 12 points in the first quarter came off turnovers.
“We just have to want it more, a sense of urgency… the first half wasn’t our game, they weren’t bad shots, we just weren’t hitting,” said Gators top scorer, Jhaina Stephens. “We should’ve adjusted sooner instead of waiting until the second half.”
The Gators weren’t able to find a counter-attack on offense, or any way of slowing the Eagles down throughout the first half. At halftime, the Eagles had a commanding 25-17 lead in a low-scoring contest.
“I just feel like we didn’t show up like we normally do,” said senior guard Toni Edwards. “We had a good practice week, we had a good warmup so I thought things were going to go as planned but come game time, things went opposite.”
Prior to Thursday’s game, the Eagles won one game on the road this season going 1-6. However, the Eagles seemed right at home, in complete control of the game. Even when the Gators showed sparks of offense within the first half, the Golden Eagles never let up.
Stephens was carrying the load on offense, as much of the team’s scoring came from her while others struggled to put points on the board as shots just weren’t falling.
The third quarter was by far the most competitive quarter of the game, with the Gators seeming like an entirely different team than in the first half. The Gators shot 40 percent from the field in the third quarter, after not shooting better than 26 percent in either of the first two quarters.
“The difference is that we moved the ball more, started getting back to what coach wants us to run,” said Stephens.
While the Gators did show promise in the second half, specifically in that third quarter, the Eagles never slowed down and continued to find the basket. After a competitive third, the Gators began to stumble and the Eagles never missed a step to earn their first win after eight losses.
The avenues in which the Gators found success in the third was stifled in the fourth. In the first half, the Gators struggled to hit from beyond the arch making only one of nine 3-point shots. The third quarter saw the Gators take more mid-range shots, and attacking the paint. However, in the fourth, the Eagles adjusted and took away the inside attack and neutralized the Gators offense.
Thursday’s game was one to forget for the Gators as they registered their lowest-scoring game of the season, their record falls to 8-12.
Stephens still had a solid game earning her seventh double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 assists. Stephens has played well through the skid, earning two double-doubles through the four-game stretch.
Photo provided by SF State Athletics.