Atherton, Calif. – The Menlo College Lady Oaks (26-3) have done it again. On Tuesday night, #18 Menlo defeated William Jessup (15-15) 66-58 to claim the 2013 California Pacific Conference tournament Championship. The win capped off an undefeated Cal Pac campaign by giving the Lady Oaks their 14th consecutive victory. Jolise Limcaco led all scorers with 21 points in the winning effort.
Menlo put together an impressive defensive effort in the first half, holding William Jessup to just 18% from the field on 5 of 27 shooting. They also forced 10 turnovers in and out-rebounded the Warriors 27-20. At the end of the first period, Menlo led 28-14.
The second half proved to be a much different story. With so many open looks wasted in the first half, both teams were expected to come out with a vengeance in the second. They did just that. Menlo came out of the gate and extended the lead to 17 points thanks to a Limcaco three pointer. William Jessup shot 50% from the field on 16 of 32 shooting, which helped the team to chip away at the 17-point deficit and bring the game to within five points with less than two minutes to play. Menlo got great minutes out of Limcaco as well as Amber Lane who got her first start of the playoff run. Lane played over 37 minutes for the Lady Oaks and chipped in 12 points on the offensive end. But it all came down to the Menlo defense in the end. It was a lower scoring game than the Lady Oaks, who average 78 per game, were used to playing. Getting stops on the defensive end proved to be the difference, according to Menlo head coach Shannon Osborne.
"I feel like we played great defense the whole game," said Osborne "They didn't hit any shots in the first and obviously they hit more in the second, shooting 50%, but I feel like our defense definitely carried us because we normally score more than 66 points."
Despite coming in under their season average in points, Menlo had four of their five starters eclipse double digits. Limcaco led the team with a game-high 21, Lane and Laurel Donnenwirth added 12, and Lauren Adamek rounded things out with 10. Ashley Rose led William Jessup with 20 points and Taylor Borba added 12.
With the win, Menlo will be making their second consecutive trip to the NAIA national tournament. They will travel to Sioux City, Iowa next week to participate in this year's version of the tournament. This is the fourth time in the past eight years Menlo has sent a team to the women's basketball national tournament. Seeding and first round matchups will be announced tomorrow afternoon. Stay tuned to www.menloathletics.com for updated information and game times.