Basketball team loses lead late in game against Chico State

Farrah Shokoor (#23) fights the Wildcat defense during the Women's Basketball game against CSU Chico Dec. 1 at SF State. The Gators lost 59-54. Photo by Gregory Moreno.

Wins continued to elude the SF State women’s basketball team Thursday night as they dropped their second home game of the season to Chico State, 54-59.

The Gators maintained a slim lead for most of the game, but with five and a half minutes left in play the team fell behind, and stayed behind.

“We weren’t able to handle pressure,” said head coach Dr. Joaquin Wallace. “I thought we did everything that we needed to do but it’s just virtually impossible to beat a team when you have 24 turnovers. We limit our turnovers, I think we win that game.”

Turnovers and fouls were the team’s Achilles’ Heel and the Wildcats seized every opportunity, shooting 68.8 percent from the free throw line.

“We just lost composure at the end,” said point guard Nicole Hicks, who scored four out of 10 on the night and made both her free-throw attempts.

“They’re a good, defensive team, they set a lot of screens and stuff. People would get open here and there and then they would hit a lot of open shots,” she said.

Teammate Michaela Booker led the Gators with 17 points but it wasn’t enough to stave off what has become the team’s pattern.

“It’s like a broken record, this happens every time we play a game. We’re up on a team the entire game and then at the end we just can’t close out games for some reason,” Booker said.

“I don’t know what it is, I think it’s just we’re not focused when it’s the last four minutes— when we should be the most focused. We just made critical mistakes at the wrong times.”

This is a Gator team that is “relatively young,” Wallace said, and he’s right— there are no seniors on the team this season.

“Hopefully as we mature as the season progresses on we’ll get a little better,” he said.

“We just got out of control, I guess. It is hard, slowly watching the game, you know, get away from us,” Hicks said.

It seemed inconceivable that the Gators would lose. Chico never led by more than five points, and at one point the Gators led by as many as eight.

“That’s how it’s been all year. Is it tough to see? Yes it is, but until we get a little tougher, learn how to close games out, this is what’s going to happen. But, I do believe we’re getting better. We just need to learn how to close the game,” Wallace said.

The team has a day off before they host Cal State Stanislaus this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the gym.