Dons take two at the Chase Center

Facing off at the Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors for the second time in two years, the men’s basketball team took on Stephen Curry’s alma mater, the Davidson College Wildcats, for the first time in history while the women’s basketball team took on the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears for the first time in five years. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF DILLON MCNEIL

Action tipped off in the afternoon, and the women’s team started with control as they ran up a 9-2 lead early on, but the Bears quickly regained their composure, leading the first quarter on top by a score of 17-19. Despite being three-for-six in 3-pointers, maintaining a 50% field goal percentage hurt the Dons in the second quarter as the Bears persisted and added 20 points to the scoreboard as opposed to the Dons five by the end of the half.

Redshirt sophomore Ioanna Krimmili hit a 3-pointer and two jumpers to kick off the third quarter, breaking the dry spell of the second quarter. Berkeley would maintain the smarter defense, however, as the Dons couldn’t find any more 3-point opportunities in the upcoming quarter. The team finished their fight losing by a score of 41-70. 

In a statement to the Dons Athletics’ official website, head coach Molly Goodenbour said, “We have some really good pieces, we have some young pieces and we’re really trying to see how best to utilize those pieces on the floor. Cal did a good job of taking Ioanna out of her rhythm, and teams are going to do that to us. Our challenge now is to get some of our returners out of their comfort zone and be able to get us opportunities to get us some good looks.” 

PHOTO COURTESY OF DILLON MCNEIL

Graduate student guard Jamaree Bouyea and redshirt senior guard Khalil Shabazz set the tempo of the game early on for the men’s team as Shabazz found a quick steal and a pass to Bouyea for a layup. Later in the game, Bouyea returned the assist for a 3-pointer in the left corner by Shabazz. 

The first half score was kept tight between the Dons and the Wildcats, until sophomore center Volodym Markovetskyy broke the Don’s two point deficit with two good free throws, and junior Josh Kunen sank a 3-pointer at the start of the last minute. Graduate student guard Gabe Stefanini closed the first half with a buzzer beating 3-point shot bringing the score to 27-20 in just one minute. 

The Wildcats came out strong in the second half through free throws and jumpers, but Stefanini eventually answered the opposition by drawing a foul outside the arc and going three-for-three in free throws. The second half remained close nonetheless, and the teams found themselves at a score of 57-53 in the last two minutes. It was by the final minute that Bouyea sank a deep 3-pointer in Stephen Curry tradition, solidifying the Dons at 60-53. The last minute closed with the Dons going five-for-six in free throws and a final of 65-60. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF DILLON MCNEIL

Speaking with the Foghorn after the game, Stefanini said, “Winning at the Chase Center was an incredible feeling. We showed our toughness and that we can be a very special team this year.” Stefanini added, “I felt all types of emotions after winning and being able to do it in front of all our fans after being out of my junior and senior year and coming in at USF as a grad student after all this time, I felt part of something incredible.”

While Bouyea put up a career-high in points at the Chase Center two years ago against the Princeton University Tigers, Shabazz symbolically put up a career-high of six steals last Saturday for their second game in the arena.

The Dons will bring another doubleheader back to home base at the War Memorial Gym at the Sobrato Center on Nov. 18 when the men’s team faces the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack and the women’s team faces the University of California, Davis Aggies.

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