By Peter J. Suter
The Rams women’s basketball team hosted conference rivals, the Chabot Gladiators in an entertaining back-and-forth game where the Rams edged out a 70-68 victory.
City College took the lead 22-4 early in the first-quarter, thanks to 9-points that came from center Zakiya Willis. Turnovers allowed the Gladiators to battle back and finish the quarter 22-15.
Shortly into the second quarter, Willis left the game due to a flare up in her foot from a prior injury, she would later return in the second-quarter.
Midway through second-quarter Gladiators went on a run to shift the score in their favor 32-26. With three minutes remaining in the second-quarter, the Rams’ defense buckled down. Point guard Caprice Taylor had two steals that led to points, going on an 8-2 run to tie the game. Another defensive stop gave the Rams the ball, where Taylor marched down and was fouled. She made both free throws giving the Rams a 36-34 lead to end the half.
City College’s Emily Nepomuceno scored a bucket to start the second-half. The Gladiators would answer and later tie the game halfway through the third-quarter 44-44.
Nepomuceno, who struggled going 1/7 from beyond the arch, but made a big time 3-pointer to later go up 52-49. More Rams turnovers led to the Gladiators regaining the lead 53-52 at the end of the third-quarter.
The fourth-quarter was a rollercoaster of lead changes that made every possession significant, but at key moments the Rams defense would stepped up.
Guard Gianni Duncan-Mosely took a charge on the defensive end, leading to Taylor getting to the foul line to making 1 of 2 to take the lead 62-59 five minutes remaining in the fourth-quarter. The Gladiators would score to come within one point, but after a City College turnover the Gladiators would regain the lead 63-62.
Caprice would make it to the foul line on next possession, but miss both attempts, enabling Chabots’ leading scorer De’Zire Hall to extend the lead 65-62 on a layup. With no hesitation, Taylor storms down the court to be fouled again, this time making each free throw. Chabots answered with a 3-pointer at the two minute mark, extending the lead 68-64. Moments later Taylor would fearlessly knock down a huge 3-pointer to strike within one. After retrieving the rebound on a Gladiators missed shot, Willis was given the ball on the low post to knock down a jump shot for the lead that would ultimately be enough points to solidify the win.
Though it was the Rams defense that came through in the end. The play of the game came when Annisah Dorsey stripped Chabots’ guard of the ball and converting one of two free throws. The Gladiators were forced to take a last second contested 3-point shot from the hot hand of Chabots’ De’Zire Hall that missed its mark.
Despite the fact that City College didn’t capitalize from the line, the Rams showed true grit by maintaining strong on defense. “
“Missed free throws could have cost us the game, but it was our defense that got us through,” Head Coach Derek Lau said.
“We focused on defense. Coach had us all on the same page; we wanted to start hard and play with energy,” Taylor said, who had 21 points and 4 steals.
The game ball went to Willis who had team high 22-points and an astounding 20 rebounds.
“We played hard, we pulled through. It was a Championship level game. Chabot is a good team,” Coach Lau said.
The Rams, who improved to 7-0 in the Coast-North conference. Chabot received their second loss, leaving them with a 6-2 conference record.
City College women will play again at home on Feb. 09, tip-off starts at 5pm.