PHOENIX – Menlo College women's basketball locked into a wild back and forth contest on Saturday afternoon in Phoenix and dropped a 92-88 decision in an absolute GSAC shootout. Menlo had five different players score in double figures, ACU had four and wildly enough, four Oaks fouled out as did three members of the Firestorm. In total, ACU shot 49 free throws (making 38) and Menlo took 25 trips to the line, connecting on 20 of those attempts. Despite the wild nature of the game, Menlo actually outscored ACU in three of the four quarters but it was the second quarter, in which Menlo was outscored 21-13 that did the Oaks in on Saturday. The loss in the third in a row for Menlo which drops to 9-14 on the season and 2-8 in GSAC play while ACU improves to 12-9 overall and 6-4 within the conference.
The first quarter saw Menlo jump out to a blistering start thanks in large part to the play of Aliyah Brantley and Breanna Turner. The two combined to score all eight points in Menlo's 8-2 run through the first five minutes of play. ACU managed to pull within four, 10-6, but the Oaks answered with a 7-2 run this time to make it 17-8 with just 1:59 remaining in the quarter. However, a game Firestorm squad managed to finish the quarter on an 8-0 run to pull within one, 17-16 as time expired in the first.
The momentum from that run carried over in a big way into the second quarter and it proved to be the difference maker in the contest. ACU began the quarter on a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game on a Courtney Christmas jumper with 6:46 remaining. From that point forward the Firestorm put together a 15-10 run through the remainder of the period to lead 37-30 heading in to the locker room.
Arizona Christian led for the entirety of the third quarter but Menlo managed to cut a game-best 12 point deficit down to one in just over two and half minutes of game clock. They did that with a 13-2 run that included a pair of three pointers from Celina Pagan, a three pointers and two free throws from Emma Briggs and an Aliyah Brantley jumper. ACU then stretched the lead by as many as nine points before finishing the quarter leading 59-54.
Things got interesting in the fourth quarter when the pace of the game came to a screeching halt as the two teams combined to shoot 36 total free throws. Menlo jumped out early and cut ACU's six-point lead to nothing, and then took the lead with 4:15 remaining. However, that would not last for long as the Firestorm regained the lead for good with 2:40 remaining and never relinquished it thanks to a plethora of free throws down the stretch.
Emma Briggs led the Oaks with 18 points followed by Celina Pagan and Aliyah Brantley who each had 17. Madison Rocha had 14 points and Breanna Turner was Menlo's fifth scorer in double figures with 12. Courtney Christmas led all scorers in the game with 30 points for the Firestorm. Menlo had a massive 41-31 advantage on the boards but struggled to handle the ball turning it over 25 times to just 16 for ACU. Menlo shot 48.4% from the field while ACU was at 42.1%
Next up, the Oaks return home for a two game set as they host San Diego Christian on Thursday the ninth and Biola on Saturday the 11th. Thursday tips off at 5:30 p.m. with Saturday starting at 2 p.m.