LOS ANGELES—UC Riverside Women’s Basketball head coach John Margaritis knew this season would be a challenge for the team from the get-go.
In its first game of the season, UCR’s 73-55 loss against USC on Tuesday proved just that. However, it wasn’t without plenty of bright spots for the Highlanders.
After USC took a 21-11 lead going into the second quarter, the Highlanders bounced back, going on a 13-point scoring run that had them take a 30-29 lead at the 2:17 mark. It may have been short-lived, but that stretch showed Margaritis just what his team is capable of.”I thought that we showed for a small minute there that we can compete at a high level,” Margaritis said. “The next step is for us to do it from the beginning to the end.”
During the first timeout in the first quarter, Margaritis stressed playing with confidence. The team was getting good shots, just not knocking them down.
While the team shot just 26 percent in the first quarter, the shots began to fall in the second. The Highlanders shot 50 percent from the field (7-for-14). The team also held USC to just nine points to go into halftime with the score tied at 30.
Two of the biggest standouts in the game were junior Marina Ewodo and senior Malou Thiebaut De Kergret. Ewodo finished the game with 13 points (5-for-12) and 13 rebounds, along with five blocked shots. De Kergret, who came off the bench at the end of the first period, was a spark plug for the team in the second quarter. She scored eight points during that stretch, helping whittle away USC’s lead.
“She comes in and changes the game,” Margaritis said. “You could immediately see the affect she had.”
The Trojans came out on fire in the second half, shooting 64 percent from the field in the third quarter to outscore the …