Riverside, Calif. - A 16-2 disadvantage on the scoreboard to open the game created a hole that the San José State women's basketball team couldn't climb out of en route to a 100-80 defeat at the hands of the UC Riverside Highlanders on Thursday afternoon in SRC Arena.
"We have to stop doing that, putting ourselves in a hole to start the game," said head coach Jamie Craighead. "We also need to eliminate some of the fouls we are committing because that puts us in a hole in terms of being able to aggressively press on defense. Today really came down to our slow start."
Collectively, San José State missed 11 of their first 12 shots from the field, a pair of free throws and committed six turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game. They finished the first half shooting 31 percent from the floor and trailed by 10 points, 47-37 heading into halftime.
One of the bright spots for the team was a 29-to-25 advantage in rebounds, including 10-to-3 on the offensive glass, which they converted into a 13-1 difference in second chance points in the first 20 minutes. The other was Rebecca Woodberry's three first half 3-pointers, the last of which was the 100th of her career. She is just the seventh player in Spartans' women's basketball history to reach triple-digit threes in their career. Woodberry finished the game with a team-high 18 points and 13 rebounds. She also had two steals.
The Spartans opened the second half with renewed energy, quickly cutting the lead to three points, 49-46, with a 9-2 spurt. It would be the first of six times they would get within four points or less in the second half, but could never get any closer.
"We knocked on the door and in the second half battled back, but we just couldn't get over that hump. We would get close and they, for one reason or another, were able to get a good look or we committed a foul which stopped our momentum, or we got the stop but didn't get the rebound on their misses. I'm happy that we battled back, but we have to come out ready to play and then show it on the court."
With 5:36 to play it was a four-point game, 79-75, in favor of UC Riverside. The Highlanders went on a 10-0 run to extend the lead to 14. After a pair of San José State free throws, UCR put together a 9-0 run to all but end the game.
"That is what teams at home are supposed to do," Craighead said. "They closed us out."
Despite the rebounding advantage in the first half, the Spartans for the third straight game lost the battle of the boards 56-48, including 41-29 on the defensive glass. However, the 48 rebounds for San José State are a high for the season.
"That's something we are either going to be really good at or it will be our Achilles Heel," Craighead said of her team's rebounding. "To see (48 rebounds by us) is progress, but we need to keep our opponent off the glass. Rebounding is going to be key if we are going to be successful this year."
For the game the Spartans shot 34 percent from the floor. They have shot less than 40 percent in five of six halves this season.
"Its all about ball movement," Craighead said. "Instead of forcing poor or contested shots, which is what we are doing right now, we need to take good open ones. When we do we knock them down. The flow of our offense is predicated on what we do defensively. Having to take the ball out under the basket so much makes it difficult for what we want to do offensively. We have to stop committing fouls, get some stops and get it going in the other direction."
In addition to Woodberry, Ta'Rea Cunnigan and Jasmine Smith were in double figures scoring. Smith had 10 points and five rebounds and Cunnigan finished with 16 points and seven boards, including 13 points in the second half.
"I was happy that (Ta'Rea) got on track in the second half," Craighead said. "She has so much speed, she can't be guarded. We need her and Rebecca (Woodberry) to continue playing they way they are capable of. That will open up good opportunities for everyone else."
Brittany Crain's 34 points and 15 rebounds paced the Highlanders.
The Spartans wrap up their southern California swing on Saturday afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. tip off at UC Irvine.
San Jose State vs UC Riverside
11/20/14 2:00 pm at SRC Arena (Riverside, CA)
At SRC Arena (Riverside, CA)
UC RIVERSIDE 100, SAN JOSE STATE 80
SAN JOSE STATE (1-2)
Totals 29-85 14-20 80.
UC RIVERSIDE (2-0)
Crain, Brittany 13-27 6-6 34; DeCoud, Simone 4-6 12-16 22; Ito, Annelise
5-12 1-4 13; Curry, Michelle 4-7 2-2 10; Adams, Dynese 4-7 2-4 10; Wilson,
Jaelyn 2-7 1-2 6; Nyingifa, Inara 1-2 1-2 3; Martin, Akilah 1-2 0-0 2;
Morrison, Tahvia 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 34-71 25-36 100.
San Jose State................ 37 43 - 80
UC Riverside.................. 47 53 - 100
Paris 0-1; West, Rachol 0-6), UC Riverside 7-14 (Ito, Annelise 2-2; DeCoud,
Simone 2-3; Crain, Brittany 2-6; Wilson, Jaelyn 1-2; Morrison, Tahvia 0-1).
Fouled out--San Jose State-BAKER, Aniya; Ladd, Myzhanique, UC
Riverside-DeCoud, Simone. Rebounds--San Jose State 48 (Woodberry, Rebecca
13), UC Riverside 56 (Crain, Brittany 15). Assists--San Jose State 14 (WEST,
Rachol 4), UC Riverside 22 (Ito, Annelise 4; DeCoud, Simone 4). Total
fouls--San Jose State 29, UC Riverside 18. Technical fouls--San Jose
State-None, UC Riverside-None. A-162