ATHERTON, Calif. - Menlo College used a crippling, half-ending run to take complete control of a close game and put the finishing touches on shortly after the restart in a 73-56 California Pacific Conference victory over Simpson on Thursday night inside Haynes-Prim Pavilion.
During four minute, 34 second span, the Oaks outscored Simpson 18-2, turning a 19-all game into a 37-21 halftime advantage. Menlo found it difficult to go wrong as it changed the face of the game, making 7-of-11 shots and grabbing an offensive rebound following each miss. Defensively the Oaks held the Red Hawks to 1-of-4 shooting while forcing four turnovers and keeping the visitors without a rebound.
It was exactly what Menlo needed after struggling to keep its head above water in conference play. The Oaks are now 3-3 in the Cal Pac at the midway point and 8-11 overall. Second place Holy Names (5-1, 14-10) visits Menlo on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The Hawks defeated William Jessup on Thursday to help create a three-way tie for third place between the Oaks, William Jessup, and Simpson (3-3, 4-20).
The game played inside Haynes-Prim Pavilion on Thursday night was decided during Menlo's outburst leading into the break. Neither team led by more than four points and the score was tied for the third time in the opening half when Simpson's Paige Barrett drained a 3-pointer with just more than five minutes remaining. The rest of the game belonged to Menlo.
Katelyn Guild began the barrage by scoring off a Stephanie Truong assist on the Oaks ensuing possession. Following a Red Hawks turnover, Truong drive across the key and dished to Brittany Taylor for a 3-pointer and a 24-19 Menlo lead. The game's back-and-forth flow ended there.
Guild grabbed a rebound and found Taylor, who was sent to the free throw line where she made a pair; Elisa Ayala scored on a putback the Oaks next time down and within a minute and a half Menlo's lead had ballooned to 28-19 with three minutes 15 seconds to play.
Menlo turned the ball over on its following possession after missing three shots, all of which it rebounded, but Simpson returned the favor. Guild scored again from a Truong assist before the distributor scored a basket of her own. Truong fed Gianna Covarelli for a 3-pointer that took the wind completely out of Simpson's sails with one minute to go. Covarelli added a layup from a Taylor assist nine seconds before the break to make it 37-21 Oaks.
Simpson drew within 13 points when Barrett began the second half with a 3-pointer, but it was as close as it would get. The teams traded baskets and then Menlo turned the game into a blowout.
Guild scored twice around a Taylor layup and Senoj Jones sank a 3-pointer off of Taylor's second straight assist for a 48-26 Oaks lead with 14 minutes, 27 seconds left. Menlo's lead got as big as 23 points two different times thanks to scores by Jenna Marinaro and Ayala, respectively, but the game was already well out of reach by the time Jones polished scored the Oaks ninth consecutive point.
It was a feast inside the pain all game long for Menlo, where the Oaks grabbed 49 rebounds to Simpson's 24. The well-rounded effort also showed from beyond the arc with Menlo sinking 7-of-12 3-point attempts. Simpson equaled the Oaks total from long range, but needed an extra nine shots.
Covarelli led all scorers with 17 points while Taylor added 12. Ayala came through with 10 points and seven rebounds while Truong seemed to have her hand in everything the Oaks did during their big run. Truong finished with four points, six rebounds, and five assists. Guild scored eight points with five rebounds while Jones matched her point total.
Kayla Rackley netted 13 points for Simpson with Kylie Shaw adding 12. Barrett scored nine, all from long range. No Red Hawks player finished with more than four rebounds.