Tyla Turner (#12) floats between Cal State East Bay defenders Kayla Blair (#21) and Savannah McGill (#32) for the layup. | Photo by Zac Sibek.

Defense wins first round game for Lady Jacks

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It was a defensive game for the women’s basketball team in the Lumberjack Arena on Feb. 27, as they beat California State University, East Bay 54-53 in the first round of the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

“We had to want it more,” senior forward Riann Thayer said. “It came down to a defensive stop, and that’s how we love to play.”

There was a struggle to get points up on the board with several offensive errors for both teams in the first half. The Pioneers held a 15-12 lead in the first quarter, and maintained a four-point lead until the Jacks were able to put a stop to things.

It was time for “Duke Moments” as coach Michelle Bento-Jackson would say, which refers to everybody focusing on defense.

“Right [then] I [had] to play defense for my team,” sophomore Tyla Turner said. “Coach [said] Duke Moment, and we had to lock down.”

Humboldt State University held the Pioneers to just 40 percent shooting overall, and 22.2 percent from three-point range.

“We held them to one three-pointer the entire second half,” head coach Bento-Jackson said.

Halfway through the third quarter, the Jacks held their largest lead of 11 after junior guard Jovanah Arrington’s crowd roaring 3-pointer. Aside from the game-changing shot, Arrington achieved a total of six rebounds.

The Pioneers missed the game-winning layup with 2.7 seconds left on the clock after Tyla Turner’s intentional foul. By holding the Pioneers scoreless for the last 2:30 of the game, coach Bento-Jackson had only good things to say about Lady Jacks.

“The intensity on the defensive end ultimately won the game for us,” coach Bento-Jackson said. “I thought that showed great growth from our team as a whole.”

Tyla Turner led the Jacks with 12 points, Thayer had 11 points and senior forward Mikaela Shannon put 11 points on the board in 12 minutes of play.

The Jacks now have a 16-12 overall record and 15-8 conference record. They will travel south for Friday’s game against California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in the Kellogg Arena with an 8:05 p.m. tip-off time.

“It’s time for Pomona,” Thayer said. “Let’s go!”

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