After a slow start, the Cincinnati Bearcats women’s basketball team pulled away from Division II California (Pennsylvania) in the second half of the 2018-2019 season debut.
This contest was also Cincinnati’s debut at the beautifully renovated Fifth Third Arena, which now must be regarded as one of college basketball’s premier facilities.
A well-prepared, highly motivated California Vulcans team came out and traded body blows with the Bearcats. The Vulcans held a 13-11 advantage after one quarter and a 28-27 halftime lead. Senior forward Seairra Barrett led the way for California, posting 14 points on 7 of 16 shooting.
In the second half, Cincinnati asserted itself, taking control of a game that turned into a blowout in its latter stages. The Bearcats outscored California 25-11 in the fourth quarter, expanding the six point lead the home team earned during the third. By the final whistle, Michelle Clark-Heard’s club held a 69-49 advantage. The Bearcats’ veteran leaders led the way this afternoon. Junior forward Angel Rizor pumped in 17 points while sophomore forward Ilmar’i Thomas earned a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds).
Today’s victory will serve as an excellent stepping stone for Cincinnati in advance of their regular season debut on Tuesday at home against Austin Peay. The game will be at 7 PM at the brand new Fifth Third Arena. For those unable to attend, head on over to gobearcats.com for televised coverage of the game. After the game, check back with Down the Drive for a full recap.