On they go: SRJC women’s basketball advances to NorCal Semis

Joseph Barkoff / Oak Leaf
Gretchen Harrigan deposits the ball in the hoop off the glass with a bank for 2 of 31 points against Diablo Valley College March 5 in Haehl Gym Santa Rosa.

Will Mathis, Staff Writer

Up by three points with 2:30 to play, the Bear Cubs’ defense held the Diablo Valley College Pirates scoreless the rest of the game and won 75-64 Wednesday night at Haehl Pavilion, advancing to the Northern California Semi-Finals.

The women’s basketball team scored on eight of its first 10 possessions of the second half to build a 50-41 lead.

The Bear Cubs the tone immediately in the second half forcing DVC to turn the ball over on its first possession which led to Madison Sowards’ 3-pointer, making it a 32-26 Bear Cub lead one minute into the half.

One minute later Gretchen Harrigan made the first of two free throws. She missed the second one, but the Bear Cubs grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Sowards, who drained another 3-pointer to make the score 36-28.

“We weren’t going to lose that game,” sophomore Sowards said after the game. “We wanted to get a lead and keep it.”

That started a five-minute stretch where neither team would miss. DVC scored on eight of its next nine possessions while SRJC scored on seven of its next nine. Alicia Mehtlan and Erin Skinner scored a pair while Stephanie Sack and Harrigan scored five points each to give the Bear Cubs a 50-43 lead with 13 minutes to play.

“Bottom line was we weren’t going to lose that game,” sophomore Sack said. “We knew they were going to hit shots so we just had to keep our heads up and keep going at it.”

The Bear Cubs forced DVC to miss its last six shots. Meanwhile, Skinner scored a pair and Harrigan scored six, including four free throws to close out the 75-64 victory.

The fast-paced first half had four ties and five lead changes.

The Bear Cubs took a 4-2 lead when Harrigan scored a layup less than two minutes into the game.

DVC responded with a free throw, a 3-pointer, two more free throws and a layup to take a 10-4 lead at the 16:56 mark.

The Bear Cubs came right back with layups from Skinner and Sowards, and a layup and 3-pointer from Harrigan to give SRJC a 13-10 advantage with 14:07 left in the half.

With the score tied at 15, Sowards made a 3-pointer.

Later Harrigan made a layup and Mehtlan made a free throw to give the Bear Cubs a 21-15 lead with 7:39 to go in the half.

DVC cut the lead down to 21-20 with a layup at the 4:50 mark.

Down by one and with only 50 seconds left in the first half, Mehtlan made a jump shot on a back-to-back possession.

Add a defensive stop for the Bear Cubs in between and SRJC had a 29-26 advantage at halftime.

Harrigan finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Sack ended just short of a triple double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists with only two turnovers.

Sowards had 17 points and 9 rebounds with three 3-pointers.

Mehtlan had 7 points to go with her 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Skinner had 8 points and nine rebounds.

The third-ranked Bear Cubs will play at second-ranked Fresno City College Saturday night at 5:30 p.m.