Gators lose to Pioneers as breakout star Hart suffers injury

The Gators Women’s Basketball team lost 75-55 against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers Saturday after suffering from a rocky start, posting only 19 points in the first half to the Pioneers’ 32 points. Gators breakout star and team catalyst, junior guard Ashley Hart, is must-watch basketball when she has the ball in her possession. Hart, with her flash-like speed in the paint and pull-up ability from anywhere, was especially dangerous when left alone in the corner to show off her 3-point shooting abilities. 

Early in the third quarter, the Pioneers would go on a 9-2 run to lengthen their lead to 20 points. Hart did her best to mount a comeback for the Gators, but took a hard fall in the middle of the third quarter. She was bothered by her right knee thereafter. 

The Gators would cut the lead back to nine with a 9-0 run powered by some great ball movement and some timely rebounding, but the East Bay Pioneers promptly squashed all Gators’ hopes of making a comeback run, extending their lead back to 17 points. At the end of the quarter, the Gators trailed the Pioneers by a score of 54-39.

The Gators simply did not execute on the glass and perimeter shooting, a sentiment exemplified by first-year Gators head coach Natasha Smith on the sidelines, as she pointed and called mismatched plays on the back end, but the Pioneers climbed too far for the Gators to snare such a comeback. The Gators head north to Humboldt State on Thursday, Dec. 12 for a 5:30 p.m. game. The game will broadcast and stream live via CCAA Networks.