Sonoma State defeats Gators despite 4th quarter comeback
After a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak, the Gators regain their footing during Thursday's game
February 4, 2022
SF State’s women’s basketball team roared back from a 12-point deficit, but fell short in the last few seconds, losing 63-60 at home against Sonoma State on Thursday.
The Gators (6-12) played a thriller at Don Nasser Plaza. The Gators set the tone early with strong half-court defense, highlighted by a block by senior guard Ashley Hart. Despite their great defensive efforts and having a higher shooting percentage, the Gators could not regain the lead and ended the half down 32-26.
The 3rd quarter saw the team’s worst shooting effort, which sophomore forward Jolene Armendariz echoed.
“I think we had a pretty lousy third quarter, if we would have played the third quarter how we played the fourth quarter, we definitely would have won,” Armendariz said.
The 4th quarter started off strong as the Gators made three straight 3-pointers. This tied the score at 47 each. In the last two minutes, freshman guard Alexsandra Alvarado had a timely steal. Hart made two 3-pointers, one with 9.3 seconds left to bring the Gators within one point.
After Sonoma State made two free throws, freshman guard Mya Blake made what appeared to be a game-tying 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. But after an official’s review, the shot ended up being a 2-pointer and the game would end with Sonoma State shooting another 2 free throws.
The women Gators had a better shooting percentage, secured more rebounds, and made more 3-pointers than their opponent, but were unable to make the most of their great play on defense.
The aspect of the game that most influenced the outcome was the disparity in free throw shooting. While the Gators made a respectable 12 of 16 free throws, Sonoma State went a perfect 25 of 25 from the free throw line.
Though the game closed with a narrow defeat by Sonoma State, head coach Natasha Smith commended her team’s hard work on the court after Thursday night’s game.
“They played with an extreme amount of heart, they showed that they wanted it towards the end and I think that’s when we play our absolute best,” Smith said. “So being young, we just have to learn from mistakes. Playing with our hearts and playing together, that’s what’s going to make us succeed.”
Because of the Gators strong on-court presence during Thursday night’s game, spectators wouldn’t be able to tell that just two months prior, the team suffered a COVID-19 outbreak that benched several key players on the team.
“We all started getting it, so it was pretty hard on the team because we didn’t have all of our starters, and we still don’t have all of our starters,” Armendariz said.
The team had a challenging start to the season amid an ever-raging pandemic that left the team short handed for several games. Now things seem to be looking up for the Gators.
“I would say around December we started getting some cases, but everybody’s gone through quarantine and everybody’s tested negative by now,” said junior guard, Taimane Lesa-Hardee.
Despite having to bounce back from COVID related hardships, the SF State Gators played with great ball movement and patience during Thursday night’s game.
The SF State Gators’ next game will be at home against the Cal Poly Humboldt Lumberjacks on Saturday, Feb. 5.