For the last week, scores have been down across the league, as the season has lost its youthful shine and the teams are becoming quite familiar with one another. Tuesday night’s game at Palo Alto took the scoring struggles to new depths, as the teams combined for only 22 points in the first half. The Wildcats felt this acutely, managing only 8 points in the first sixteen minutes.
The Vikings sent every available defender at senior Sabrina Belquist, which opened up the floor for the other Cats. Senior Sara Chiala slipped to the right block for an easy bucket. Sophomore Natalie Anthony got one, too. And junior Olivia Lo lined up a three-pointer from the left wing. But the Cats defense in the second quarter was stifling, not allowing the Vikings a single point in their half-court offense, their only basket coming on a fast-break after a steal at half court. Despite the offensive woes, the Cats entered the half only down 14 – 8, with the feeling that the game was very much within reach.
Unfortunately, the third quarter was much like the first, with the Cats struggling on offense and allowing defensive gaps for the Vikings to drive to the hoop. As in the first quarter, the Vikings scored in double figures while the Cats were held under 10. The deficit was 9 points going into the final frame.
The Cats found their defense in the fourth, limiting the Vikings to contested shots and grabbing loose rebounds. The offense, though still not in rhythm, picked up considerably, and the Cats methodically started to close the gap. Sophomore Morgan Burt put in 6 points in the quarter, including three free-throws that cut the lead to 4 with just under two minutes left. But the Vikings were able to find an open three to push it back to 7, and the Cats’ comeback came up just short.
The loss moves the Cats’ league record to 4 – 3 (13 – 6 overall), putting them in a tie for third place with Los Altos. The Wildcats will host Saratoga this Friday in their first home quad of the season. Game time is 6:15.