Haley Ison secures win for Chico State basketball on buzzer beater

CHICO — Haley Ison only needed 2.1 seconds to sink the game-winning jumper Saturday afternoon as the Chico State Wildcats women’s basketball team took down Dominican University 79-77 at Acker Gym.

The game slowed down dramatically in the fourth quarter with both teams exchanging free throws for the final two minutes. With six seconds left, the Penguins (1-1) drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 74. After calling a timeout, the Wildcats (2-0) found Ison, the 5-foot-9 forward, in the post and she drilled the fade away to complete the CCAA/PacWest Challenge.

“Haley gives us leadership,” said Chico State head coach Brian Fogel. “We stayed in the moment the entire time. We talk about playing all the way through all the time. Even when we have two seconds left and then we had our opportunity and Haley did a great job of bouncing back hitting the turn around.”

In the first half, both teams struggled to find consistency from the field. The ‘Cats missed their first four shots and it wasn’t until Ison drilled a 3-pointer to get them going. The Wildcats shot 37% from the field in the first half and the Penguins shot just 40%.

All night the Wildcats struggled to contain Riley Friauf, who put up 32 points, most of them coming from the low post.

“She is just a really good scorer,” said Jordan Morris, who had the assignment of covering the 6-foot-1 forward. “No matter what she did, the ball was going through the hoop. We started by fronting her and then we switched to just playing behind. It was a challenge.”

Friauf bullied her way in the post for most of the game and head coach Brian Fogel had high praise for the Penguin.

“She is a load,” Fogel said. “I give Dominican a lot of credit for the way they play. They isolate her and they put her in good opportunities to score. It wouldn’t surprise me if she was one of the top scorers in that conference at the end of the year.”

The Wildcats used a few fast breaks and a clutch corner three from Bailey Jones to take a 33-30 lead into the half.

Coming out of the half, both offenses seemed to explode. Both teams traded buckets for most of the second half, but it was Myli Martinez and Jordan Morris who buried clutch 3-pointers to keep the lead for the Wildcats for most of the game.

“Yeah we started off slow, but I just feel like that team came out and couldn’t miss a bucket,” Morris said. “We just stayed aggressive and we didn’t let the score affect us. It’s a mental game and we picked up our energy at the half.”

Ison had 13 points for the Wildcats in 31 minutes and added four rebounds. Charity Gallegos led Chico State in scoring with 15 points, eight assists and had three steals on defense. Jones and Makenzie Laporte had 14 points each, Laporte grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and Martinez added 12 points.

Chico State will play their next game at 4 p.m. Nov. 16 at Holy Names in Oakland. The Wildcats will play one more tournament next weekend before CCAA play begins on Nov. 27.

“We feel very fortunate to be 2-0,” Fogel said. “We have been working hard and we have eight new people on the team. We are trying to figure out who plays well with whom.”

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