Lane v. RiverHawks
Umpqua’s women’s basketball team inched their way closer to Lane in the Southern Region standing with their come-from-behind victory at home on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
The Lane Titans went home with a sour taste in their mouths after blowing a 14-point half-time lead against Umpqua, behind freshman guard Cielo Gonzales’ game high 30 points.
“We wouldn’t have won that game if Ciello didn’t step up the way she did,” head coach Dave Stricklin said of Gonzalez.
The RiverHawks victory snapped Lane’s 15 game win streak.
“I think at halftime we talked about it and came to the agreement that we could play better in the second half. First quarter we were fine, but we had trouble scoring in the second quarter, and we didn’t make the greatest decisions with the ball,” Stricklin said.
After shooting 18 percent from the field and falling behind 32 to Lane’s 46, Umpqua entered the second half looking like a different team. UCC flipped the script on Lane by amplifying their intensity level on defense, forcing the Titans into a 5-minute scoring drought. Shooting 25 percent from the floor, Lane was held to only ten points in the third quarter.
“It was business during the second half. We knew what we needed to do to get back into the game,” Stricklin said. “Taylor [Stricklin] and Darian [Mitchell] are usually the ones that come up with certain suggestions. Darian was the one to come in at half-time to make some suggestions on offensive adjustments. Sure enough, what she said was what got Cielo open for a three to start the third quarter, and we got a couple of steals. We started to get some momentum and off we were going,” Stricklin explained.
Meanwhile UCC freshman guard Cielo Gonzales set the tone on offense with ten of her 20 second half points coming in the third quarter. Sophomore guard Taylor Stricklin and freshman forward Darain Mitchell both added seven of their own points in the quarter giving the RiverHawks a 62-56 lead through three quarters of regulation.
“The freshman have kind of taken turn stepping up for us, so there’s been some games where it was Grace [Campbell], and Sienna [Riggle] had a couple of good games. We need a third scorer. We knew Taylor and Darian were going to be fine, but we needed extra scoring, and it just so happened that it was Ciello,” Stricklin said of his team. “That was by far the best game she has played.”
Umpqua then built a double-digit lead midway through the final period, but Lane made things interesting down the stretch with a fourth quarter run of their own, trimming UCC’s double-digit lead to only 85-88 in the final minute of play. The RiverHawks ultimately hung on to the victory thanks to crucial free throws made by Stricklin and Mitchell, sealing the 87-91 victory in Umpqua’s favor.
Linn-Benton v. RiverHawks
Umpqua extended their win streak in Albany Wednesday night, Feb. 6, narrowly defeating the Linn-Benton Roadrunners by a final score of 73-70 in the RiverHawk’s favor.
Going into the game, Umpqua was tied with Lane for the top spot in the Northwest Athletic Conference and South Division standings, Linn-Benton sat at sixth place in the same division. The Roadrunners apparently hadn’t seen the recent standings, though because
Umpqua got everything they could handle from Linn-Benton, having to rely on a late game push to disappoint any hopes of an upset.
Umpqua came out early to gain the lead, consistently nailing three-point baskets throughout the first half, but that RiverHawk momentum in the first two quarters was eventually squandered by late quarter Linn-Benton runs.
After ending the first half in a 39-39 draw, neither team found much separation in the second half. Linn-Benton had a hard time establishing any offensive rhythm, but uncharacteristic blunders by Umpqua allowed them to stay close on the score board. Umpqua was called for several traveling violations, allowing the Roadrunners to score 16 points off the RiverHawk’s turnovers.
With just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, Linn-Benton head coach Jerod Gibson was called for a technical foul after yelling at referrees when an Umpqua player got tied up with an opposing defender, stripping the ball with no foul call from the referees. The Roadrunners would proceed to make a run on offense and eventually take their first lead of the half.
After three more lead changes in the final four minutes of the game, Umpqua started playing at the intensity level they’re accustomed to. In the final minute of regulation, in a series of events, Linn-Benton’s wheels started falling off.
The first blow came when Stricklin intercepted a Linn-Benton pass, leading to an easy fast-break layup giving Umpqua that 70-67 lead. Still with plenty of time to tie the game, the Roadrunners hurried the ball up court and forced an ill-advised jump shot. Umpqua then came up with a game sealing rebound, leading Umpqua to the 73-70 victory.
Umpqua will look to extend their win streak at home where they take on Southwestern Oregon today at UCC.