Despite featuring as healthy a roster as they have had all season, on Tuesday the Santa Clara Bruins’ girls basketball team once again came up short against Palo Alto, losing 47-29. Exactly three weeks prior, the Bruins were without multiple key players and lost to the Vikings 51-40 up in Palo Alto.
Unfortunately for Bruins fans, defensive coverage and turnovers on offense put the team in a hole early. Palo Alto’s standout three-point shooter Carly Leong was left open for multiple wide open threes and when Bruins defenders were on top of her, they fouled her twice on three-point attempts, one of which led to a four-point play.
“That was frustrating,” admitted Bruins Head Coach Deedee Kiyota on losing contain on Leong. “They know they are supposed to stop her, they know she is a focal point that we needed to take away, and we didn’t.”
As for the turnovers at the offensive end, the Bruins’ bench players arguably put forth a better performance than the starters.
“First half we had two girls who made all the turnovers,” remarked Kiyota. “So that was pretty disappointing.”
“All the turnovers in the first and second quarter really threw us off,” noted Bruins senior Yvette Delgado. “Some of our teammates were down and I think that can hurt us when people have their heads down. I’m really disappointed with this game overall.”
One of the biggest positives on the night for the Bruins was the play of sophomore guard Aleizay Papagayo. Coming off the bench, Papagayo was one of the Bruins playing with energy at both ends of the floor. At one point she looked to be in trouble, but got out of it by bouncing a dribble between the legs of her opponent as she was getting double teamed. Papagayo also came up with a nice steal that led to an easy open layup and then drained a three-point shot late in the game.
“She hustles all the time” chimed coach Kiyota on Papagayo. “She’s always going. She’s definitely a nice addition to our team this year.”
“Aleizay is really good. Super energetic,” added Delgado. “I just really love the way she plays. Easy to play with, provides a spark when she’s out there.”
The loss to Palo Alto drops the Bruins’ league record to 3-5. Next week is their rematch with rival Wilcox on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Back on Jan. 16 the Bruins fell to the Chargers 42-33. Might some rivalry revenge be in store.