Glendora, CA -- The Citrus College Women's Basketball team turned the ball over 21 times, and allowed visiting Santa Monica College to score 11 critical points off those 21 turnovers. That would prove to be the difference in a closely contested game on Saturday night, as Citrus fell in their regular season finale 46-45.
Citrus got things off on the right foot, scoring seven of the first nine points of the contest. Freshman Jaelyn Wilson made the games first basket on an offensive rebound and lay-up, and freshman Natalie Lam hit a big three a few possessions later to make it 7-2 Owls.
The Owls would never trail in that first half, leading by as much as nine points with over five minutes to go thanks to a basket from sophomore Nicole Zugasti that put Citrus up 19-10. That would be the last time the Owls scored in the first half, as Santa Monica used a 9-0 to close the final five minutes to go in the break knotted up at 19 all.
From that point forward the game was a horse race with each team neck and neck until what was basically a photo finish. Santa Monica would take their first lead of the game with 13:41 to go in the game. Citrus would take it right back over the next two minutes with a small 6-0 run that saw the Owls go up 33-30 after a pair of free-throws from freshman Olivia Montgomery.
Over the next 11 minutes the lead would change hands three more times. Santa Monica took a one point lead with 1:35 to go, but Citrus snatched it right back with 1:24 on the clock after a pair of free-throws from Lam. Santa Monica would tie it up with the back end of two free-throws with 1:01 on the clock sending the game all tied up at 43 into the final minute of the game.
On Citrus' next possession, the Owls didn't get a clean look at the basket and instead settled for a three from the wing that missed. Santa Monica got the rebound and took the ball the length of the floor, hitting a big three with 12 seconds left that put the Corsairs on top 46-43.
After a 30 second timeout, the Owls quickly pushed the ball up the floor and found Wilson again on the wing for a three to tie. Wilson got a clean shot off, but the ball rimmed in and out. Montgomery would get the ball on the block and throw up a quick two that went in, but it did so as time expired, leaving Citrus one point short.
In the loss, Citrus was led by Zugasti who recorded her third straight double-double with 12 points and 18 rebounds. Wilson also chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 15 boards.
With the loss, Citrus falls to 16-12 overall and 5-7 in WSC South play. The loss likely knocks the Owls out of playoff contention, but that will be up to the seeding committee which meets on Monday afternoon. If Citrus does qualify for the post-season the announcement will be posted to citrusowls.com sometime after 2:00 PM.