In many ways, the Bakersfield and Santa Monica College women’s basketball teams have been running on a parallel course this season.
Heading into Saturday’s match up, the teams had identical records both overall and in Western State Conference South play.
So it was fitting that the game went down to the wire. But in the end, after both teams exchanged runs, Santa Monica freshman Chassen Gutierrez proved to be the difference with a team-high 22 points and 15 rebounds to help her team hold on for a 68-65 victory.
Gutierrez capped her night with a pair of free throws with 27.6 seconds left that gave the Corsairs (10-12, 4-4) a 68-64 lead.
BC (9-13, 3-5) pushed the ball up the floor, with sophomore Dasia Wandick eventually drawing a foul with 14.6 seconds left. She made 1 of 2 from the line to make it a one possession game, but the Renegades were unable to foul to stop the clock enabling Santa Monica to hold on.
“In the first half I was really, really pleased,” BC coach Paula Dahl said. “We weren’t hitting some shots, but we kept playing and battling, and the fact that we were up by two points made me really happy.
“And then in the second half we just didn’t come out ready to play. We checked out during that stretch in the third quarter and then again at the end of the game.”
The Renegades, who trailed by 19 points at the end of the first quarter in their Jan. 8 game at Santa Monica, got off to a much quicker start Saturday.
Brianna Green scored eight of her game-high 28 points in the first quarter to help BC stay close. The ’Gades led 32-30 at the half.
The momentum changed quickly after the intermission. The Corsairs outscored Bakersfield 17-5 to open the third quarter, including an 11-0 run during one stretch, building a 49-39 lead on an inside basket by 6-foot-3 center Nina Gazzo with 5:40 left in the period.
“We’ve had issues during the season where our shots aren’t going in and it affects what we’re doing on defense,” Dahl said. “We just needed to make some shots down the stretch more than anything.”
The Renegades chipped away, and eventually pulled to within 57-56 on a driving left-handed shot by Green with 5:35 to play. Jenna Sampley had back-to-back baskets to ignite the rally. Wandick also finished strong, scoring five of her 17 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 rebounds. But she was just 1 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 2:29 of the game.
The game featured 12 lead changes, but BC couldn’t seem to get over the hump. The Renegades’ last lead was at 39-38 at the 8:10 mark of the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Green.
BC loses battle with No. 10 Santa Monica in men’s game
The Renegades gave the Corsairs everything they could handle before falling 69-63.
Tyrell Coleman nearly had a triple-double for BC with 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, but Santa Monica pulled ahead in the final 3:42 and held on for the victory.
Coleman also made 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and had three blocks.
The Corsairs (16-6, 6-2), who defeated the Renegades 96-66 three weeks ago, moved into a four-way tie for first place in the WSC South. Bakersfield dropped to 14-8, 2-6.
Trailing 33-22 at the half, the Renegades clawed their way back into the game. BC pulled even with 3:42 to play when Michael Guillory made 1 of 2 free throws.
Elias King followed with a three-point play and Isaiah Simpson nailed a 3-pointer to build the Corsairs lead back six points, but the Renegades responded again. King finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, with Simpson scoring 20 with eight rebounds and three 3-pointers.
Vincent Saintfilson made two acrobatic shots to trim the lead to two points with 1:40 to play, but after Simpson made just 1 of 2 free throws, Saintfilson missed a pair the following trip down, and the Corsairs scored nine of the next 12 points to build a 69-60 lead with 12.5 seconds to play.
Isayas Aris had 16 points and five rebounds for BC, while Javier Gallardo and Sainfilson added eight points apiece.