SAN DIEGO – After dropping behind by double-digits, MSUB brought the game to within one possession in the third quarter, but unable to make a complete comeback fell 75-55 to west region non-conference opponent Point Loma Monday at Golden Gymnasium.
In foul trouble in the first half, MSUB rotated its roster, but couldn’t find a way out of a big scoring rush by Point Loma, including a 20-12 difference in the fourth quarter. A jump shot by MSUB’s Tiana Hanson brought a 9-point deficit down to three points, 39-36, with 6:38 left in the third quarter, but a big scoring response by the Sea Lions was too much for the Yellowjackets to make up in the final quarter.
“We got off to a tough start, but after a timeout we were able to regroup and play a pretty good first half despite the poor start,” MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin said. “I thought Tiana was working hard on both ends. Brina also came in and hit a couple of big shots for us which was important. In the second half, we were able to cut into their lead a couple of times, but we just came up short in the end.”
Three players for MSUB scored a team-high 11 points. Sophomore Brina Hull had her best game in a Yellowjacket uniform, finishing 4-9 from the field, including 3-6 from the 3-point arc for 11 points. The guard from Colstrip, Mont., added four rebounds, an assist and a steal during the game.
Juniors Rylee Kane and Grace Weeks each contributed 11 points. Kane added team-highs of five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Weeks was 3-3 from the free-throw line with a pair of rebounds.
The win improves Point Loma to 3-0 on the year while dropping MSU Billings to 0-3. The Yellowjackets were in California for three games to open the regular season. MSUB fell to UC San Diego and Cal State San Marcos during a tournament last weekend.
For PLNU, Madison West led four players in scoring double-digits at 17 points. Roya Rustamzada recorded nine rebounds.
MSUB shot 37.3 percent on the night compared to 48.3 from the Sea Lions. The Yellowjackets were 6-18 (33.3 percent) from the 3-point arc with PLNU finishing 7-16 (48.3 percent) attempts. From the free-throw line, MSUB was 5-7 with the Sea Lions completing 12-13.
The Yellowjackets were outrebounded 42-27 off the glass, and were bested by points in the paint 34-22.
The Sea Lions jumped out to a 9-2 opening lead in the first four minutes of play. Two free-throws by Weeks and a 3-pointer from Lexi Prevost dropped the gap to two points, 19-17, with under a minute left in the first quarter. Moving their lead back up, PLNU led by as many as nine in the second quarter, but a jump shot from Hull off a Kane assist kept the lead to single digits.
Into the third quarter, an 11-0 PLNU scoring run widened the gap to 15 points, 51-36, with 2:24 remaining. A jump shot from Kane halted the scoring drought and Hull added a 3-pointer at the end of the frame. Half-way through the middle of the last quarter, the Sea Lions widened their lead to the largest of the night, 21 points, 66-45, on a pair of free-throws from Rustamzada.
Hull hit another 3-pointer and freshman Abbie Lohof got into the scoring with two points off an assist from Jeanann Lemelin. Both players recorded their first collegiate points as Lemelin completed a jump shot two minutes after the bucket from Lohof.
THE BUZZ: MSUB is now 0-1 against Point Loma as this was the first meeting between the two teams…every active player on the MSUB bench recorded minutes in the game…Hull named the St. Vincent Healthcare Athlete of the Game with her career-high 11 points…on defense, freshman Taylor Cunningham recorded two steals and a block.
“After our tough games in California, I know our players are looking forward to returning home,” Woodin commented. “We will need to regroup as we are hosting our Yellowjacket Classic tournament this week. I know our team will practice hard in order to be ready for the tough opponents they will face in this year’s tournament games.”
UP NEXT: After the opening three regular-season games in California, MSU Billings returns home to host the Yellowjacket Classic, Nov. 18-19, when the ‘Jackets will welcome Black Hills State, Cal Poly Pomona, and Northern State to Alterowitz.