Atherton, Calif. – The Lady Oaks are heading to the Cal Pac tournament championship game for the second consecutive year after defeating CSU Maritime 85-67 on Saturday night. The win is Menlo's 13th in a row and 11th over Cal Pac opponents. Menlo struggled from the field early on, but they put it together in the second half and went on a run down the stretch to extend their lead and earn the decisive 18-point victory.
The first half proved to be a closely contested, physical battle. Menlo struggled from the field, shooting just 36% but they were able to make up the difference with an impressive half on the boards and stingy defense. The Lady Oaks out-rebounded the Keelhaulers 25-19 in the half, including 9 offensive rebounds, and forced 8 turnovers. Lauren Adamek and Jolise Limcaco each chipped in 10 points to help the Lady Oaks take a 35-33 lead into the break.
In the second half, Menlo came out and extended their lead to 7 points early on, thanks to a Jenna Marinaro three-pointer and a Laurel Donnenwirth lay-up. Maritime continued to keep within striking distance, holding the Menlo lead to two-possessions for the vast majority of the second half. Menlo began creating some separation on the scoreboard with just five minutes left on the game clock. In the final five minutes of play, the Lady Oaks went on an 18-5 run to seal the deal and stamp their ticket to Tuesday's tournament championship game.
Menlo got tremendous efforts on the offensive end from multiple players including Limcaco and Adamek who tied as the games leading scorer with 20 points each. Donnenwirth and Sareen Ohanian each posted double digit scoring efforts in the win with 14 and 12 points respectively. Gabrielle Davis and Jordan Mootz led the scoring for the Keelhaulers with 14 points each.
While defense and rebounding kept the Lady Oaks in it through their early offensive struggles, the Lady Oaks came out on fire in the second half. After shooting just 36% from the field in the first period, Menlo shot a blistering 55% in the second. This translated into 50 second-half points and another 10+ point victory for the navy blue and white.
The Cal Pac tournament championship game is set to tip-off at 7:30pm on Tuesday, February 26th from Haynes-Prim Pavilion. Menlo will take on the #2 seed William Jessup Warriors. William Jessup knocked off Simpson 63-49 on Saturday night to earn their spot in the finals alongside Menlo. All of the action will be brought to you live on www.menloathletics.com.