Women’s basketball: Wildcats triumph over Granada Matadors

Anumita Jain and Karen Wang

On Jan. 27, the Varsity Women’s Basketball team faced off against the Granada Matadors at home, emerging victorious with a score of  66-48.

The Wildcats won the jump ball and scored the first points — a 3-pointer from junior Sahana Samra. Then, they seemed to slow down. The Matadors scored eight points — two layups and two sets of free throws— before Dougherty managed to score again, with senior Kassandra Morando making a 3-pointer. From there, the Wildcats trailed the Matadors in an exhilarating back-and-forth. Granada made a 2-pointer, followed by senior Amisha Kambath converting one of two free throws. Granada then scored two points. Junior Alex Naicker also scored two points. Then, Matadors made another 2-pointer. With less than a second left, Kambath matched it with her own 2-pointer. The quarter ended with the Matadors narrowly leading, 14-11.

The Wildcats surged in the second quarter. Morando began by making 3-pointer half a minute in, evening the score to 14-14. Granada briefly regained the lead with a layup, but a 3-pointer from senior Maddie Taylor secured it for the Wildcats. Kambath then converted two free throws, boosting the Wildcats’ new lead. The Matadors called a time out. Once the game resumed, Granada successfully made one out of two free throws, and the Wildcats continued to dominate. Sophomore Maggie Gies made a 2-pointer. Just seconds later, Samra, assisted by senior Caty Neubrand, scored a 3-pointer. Then Naicker and Taylor both made 2-pointers, with Taylor also converting a free throw. After two minutes of not scoring, Granada — once again — made one out of two free throws. But the Wildcats’ momentum was unhindered: Kambath immediately followed with a layup. The ball then went to the Matadors, but Taylor intercepted and made a layup. With half a minute left, Kambath converted one of two free throws. And within the last second, Kambath — yet again — squeezed in a 2-pointer. The score at half-time: 36-18.

Retrospectively, Head Coach Doug Vanderhorst largely attributed the Wildcats’ success to their strong second quarter — their “over 20 point swing in just eight minutes.”

Kambath also cited the second quarter as a turning point. She noted that, in the first quarter, “we didn’t come together as a team. We’re still working on that — controlling when our energy spikes high or low.” As for their far more aggressive second half, Kambath explained, “We got stronger defensively and were covering more spots. When we pick up defensively, we also tend to do better offensively.”

The Wildcats rode that second quarter momentum into the second half, fighting off the Matadors’ resurgence. The first points of the third quarter came one-and-a-half minutes in: a 3-pointer from Morando. A minute later, Granada made a 2-pointer and a free-throw. Granada was awarded free throws again — this time, a pair. Both teams assumed their positions before Vanderhorst called a time out. Then the game resumed, both teams retook their positions, and the Matadors made one out of their two free throws. The rest of the quarter saw each team scrambling to outscore the other. Junior Megan Zink scored a 3-pointer before Granada scored a 3-pointer, too. Granada then made a two-pointer, and Kambath scored two points with a layup. Granada advanced briefly, earning five points by converting one of two free throws and scoring two consecutive 2-pointers. But the Wildcats leveled those with five points of their own: Morando scored a 3-pointer, and Kambath made her third last-second play: a layup. The quarter ended with Dougherty still leading 47-32.

The fourth quarter was marked by continued, unwavering strength from the Wildcats. Granada scored first — a layup — but the Wildcats matched them immediately, as Taylor made a 2-pointer with assistance from Samra. The Matadors made another layup, which the Wildcats matched again with Kambath making one of her own. Granada scored a 3-pointer. And Taylor — assisted by Samra — made one, too. Zink then scored two consecutive 2-pointers. The Matadors also made two consecutive 2-pointers. Then, they called a time out. The game resumed with Granada converting one of two free throws. And the Wildcats continued charging forward: junior Fernanda Botello assisted Kambath in a layup, and freshman KC Villaroman made a 3-pointer, also assisted by Botello. Granada took the last points of the game — a layup — but the Wildcats took the win. The score was 66-48.

The Wildcats’ next game is an away game against Carondelet, scheduled for Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.