By: Luke Halgerson
FULLERTON, Calif. – Menlo College Women's Basketball was playing their fifth conference game of the season on Thursday evening. Coming into the Thursday game, the Oaks were looking for their first GSAC victory of the season as they were going up against the Hope International Royals. Against the Royals, Menlo holds a 2-2 overall record against Hope but lost the previous contest that took place on February 18, 2016, by a final score of 57-62. While both teams went back and forth for much of the contest, the Oaks would prevail in the end and wound up winning by a final score of 69-60.
The Oaks were not just handed the victory, as it was a seesaw affair the entire contest. Neither team could pull away in the first quarter as the teams traded baskets the whole way through. The largest lead of the quarter was three when the Oaks found themselves but 5-2 after a Celina Pagan lay-up. The Royals managed to take the lead 12-10, but Alexis Delovio hit a shot at the buzzer to even the score at 12-12.
In the second quarter was when the Oaks managed to gain some ground in the contest. With the teams exchanging baskets for the first four minutes of the quarter, The Royals had a 24-23 lead. At that point, the Oaks would never lose the lead from that point on as they finished the second quarter on a 13-5 run. Going into the half, Menlo was in control, holding on to a 36-29 lead.
Even though the Oaks never lost the lead, Hope International did not just hand Menlo the victory. Menlo started the third quarter on a 6-0 run to push the lead to as high as 13 points. The Royals would fight and claw their way back into the game as they went on a 6-0 run of their own to push the score to 42-35. Menlo would stretch the lead back to 10 after a Kelsey McKeon three-pointer. However, The Royals would finish the quarter on a 9-4 run to put the score at 52-47.
After the Royals made the first basket of the fourth quarter to make it a three-point game, that's as close as the Oaks would let them get. The teams would trade bucks for the next four minutes leading to a 59-55 lead in favor of Menlo. The Oaks finished the contest on a 10-5 run and won the game 69-60.
Aliyah Brantley was the leading scorer for the game as she finished with 17 points and she had nine rebounds. Alexis Delovio was the next high scorer for the Oaks as she finished with 11 on 5-7 shooting. Delovio grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists as well. Emma Briggs was the only other Menlo player to reach double-digits as she chipped in 10. The victory snaps a four-game losing streak for the Oaks as their record improves to 8-10 on the season.
This was the first game of a three-game road trip for the Oaks, as their next game will see them go into battle with the 21st ranked Biola University Eagles. This game will take place on January 21, with tip-off coming at 2:00 PM. Menlo is 3-4 overall against Biola but has not beaten them since October 31, 2014, by a final score of 63-51.