NEWBERG, Ore. – A 17-0 run midway through the first half enabled nationally-ranked George Fox University to establish early control, and the Bruins went on to crunch the University of California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs 74-45 in a non-conference women's basketball game Saturday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym.
The Bruins, ranked 10th in the latest in the NCAA Division III D3hoops.com poll and 15th in the USA Today Sports / Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll, stayed perfect at 7-0 with the win. The Banana Slugs fell to 8-6 on the season.
The Bruins struck first with layups by Hayley Cusick and Jordyn Peacock and a free throw by Peacock before the Slugs got on the board with a basket by Leah Parrish. With George Fox ahead 9-7, Peacock ignited the decisive 17-point run with a layup, and the Bruins took their first 10-point lead at 17-7 with 12:46 left in the period following back-to-back three-pointers by Jami Roos. The score reached 26-7 with 10 minutes to go on a drive and free throw by Cusick, a third three by Roos, and a trey from the right corner by Megan Arnoldy.
The Bruins' lead hit 20 points when Kennedy Hobert made a pair of free throws for a 32-11 margin with 5:34 left. Their largest advantage of the half came at the 2:13 mark on a back-door layup by Lauren Codling off a feed from Cusick that made it 40-13. The halftime score stood at 40-18.
George Fox shot .405 (15-37) from the floor in the first half while holding Santa Cruz to a .167 mark (5-30). Cusick led all scorers with 11 points, with Parrish and Ryane Ortiz scoring seven apiece for the Slugs.
A 13-0 run to open the second half, fueled by two Cusick jumpers and capped by a pair of free throws by Roos, pushed the Bruin lead to 35 at 53-18 with 15:15 left and all but salted the game away. Their largest lead was 58-20 on a charity toss by McKenzie Wolfe with 13:12 remaining.
The Slugs missed their first nine shots of the second half and did not get a field goal until Parrish scored on a layup seven minutes in. An 8-0 run, sparked by a three and a jumper by Ortiz, brought the visitors within 30 at 58-28 with 10:48 to go, but that was as close as they would get until the final two minutes when both teams' starters were long gone from the game.
Cusick finished with 15 points for the Bruins, followed by Roos with 13, Arnoldy with 11, and Peacock with 10. The Bruins shot .448 (26-58) for the game and held a 48-40 rebound edge. Peacock contributed team highs of eight rebounds and four blocked shots, and Cusick passed out four assists.
Ortiz was the only Slug in double figures with 14 points, though Parrish just missed with nine points while handing out three assists. The Slugs ended up shooting .224 (15-67) from the floor, including .200 (4-20) from three-point range. Sarah Mackey had eight rebounds, and Lashay Alexander blocked three shots.
NEXT: George Fox plays its final home non-conference game Sunday, hosting Simpson University (Calif.) a 4:00 p.m. … Cal-Santa Cruz visits California Lutheran University next Saturday at 2:00 p.m.