Nailbiting Overtime Ends in Toro Stampede for Women’s B-ballcsudhbulletin February 23, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Tristin Taylor
The CSUDH women’s basketball team have leaned on senior center Ahlisha Henderson’s rebounding prowess all season, but in a virtual must-win tonight at home against Chico State, the Toros rode Henderson’s offensive talents to win an overtime thriller, 86-76.
The win, which came on a night the Toros honored graduating seniors Tylore Bell, Zhane Carter, Paradise Hanchett, Heaven Holmes and Nautica Marrow, ties the team with Chico State for sixth place in the conference, a half-game ahead of Cal State San Bernardino, which lost tonight, and one game ahead of two other teams. The top eight teams advance to the playoffs, and a victory next weekend at Cal Poly Pomona or Stanislaus State would nearly assure the Toros of their second straight playoff appearance.
Henderson entered the game as the Toros second-leading scorer, at 11.8 points a game, but it is her work on the boards, particularly the offensive glass, that makes CSUDH the best rebounding team in the conference, as it is averaging nearly 49 a game, seven more than any other team. She grabbed her boards tonight—a season-high 23, including seven offensively-but she also scored eight straight points in overtime, hitting two field goals and converting four free throws, her last one putting the Toros up by seven with a minute remaining. She led the Toros with 19 points and 23 rebounds and, just for good measure, also blocked three shots.
The Toros trailed for most of the game, the Wildcats leading by as many as seven in the second quarter. But two Zhane Carter (who scored 17 in the game) 3-pointers cut the margin to one, and at halftime, the Toros trailed by four.
The Wildcats extended that lead to 10 with 2:48 in the third, but two straight baskets by Alzena Henry, a layup by Nautica Morrow and two free throws by Tylore Bell tied the game at 51 heading into the fourth. The Toros missed their first four shot of the quarter, to fall behind by four with 8:36 remaining, but Anderson scored their next five points and a Henderson layup put the Toros up by one with 5:30 remaining. An Anderson trey extended the lead to four, but the Wildcats battled back and after both teams missed a chance to win the game in regulation, they headed into overtime tied at 69.
The teams remained tied until a minute into the 5-minute overtime, when the Toros capitalized on a Wildcat turnover, Henderson’s layup putting them up, 73-71, a lead they never relinquished.
The win ended the Toros four-game losing streak and puts them at 13-13 overall. The team this year has enjoyed winning streaks of four and five, but also endured losing streak of four and give. After the game, head coach John Bonner said the key to any success in the playoffs is to “continue…making sure our game is constantly improving.”
Thoug the Toro’s shooting woes, which have dogged them all season (they are 12th in field goal percentage at .35 percent in the CCAA) continued tonight (they made only 32.1 percent of their field goals), their strength on the boards was a key, as they outrebounded 67-42. But just as important tonight was the Toros free throw shooting, another weak spot. Though they are last in the conference at the charity stripe, 61 percent, they sank 24-28 tonight, while the Wildcats missed 11 of their 19.
Up Next: The Toros travel to Cal Poly Pomona (17-3 in conference; 21-4 overall), for a Thurs., Feb. 28 game at 5:30 p.m., followed by a trip to Turlock to battle Stanislaus State (7-13; 8-16), also at 5:30 p.m.