The De Anza College women’s basketball team made history, beating the Merced College Blue Devils 51-50 in the Mike Gervasoni Memorial Classic played from Dec. 28 to 30, 2013.
The Dons won the tournament for the first time since its creation 37 years ago, beating their opponents by a single bucket made by Madison Michelis with 10.4 seconds left on the clock.
The three-day tournament was held at De Anza with participating teams from Solano, Chabot, San Francisco, and Ohlone Colleges.
On Day 1 the Dons beat their opponents, the Porterville College Pirates (2-9) 56-51.
On Day 2, the Dons faced off against the Consumnes River Hawks (9-5). The Dons pulled to an early 9-2 lead with sophomore point guard Shayla McPhearson scoring seven points straight after the first bucket by freshman forward Gabby Whetstone.
The Dons kept strong, at one point leading the Hawks 21-9 in the first half. They went into halftime with the Hawks trailing 38-23.
In the second half, the Hawks tried to narrow the lead, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Alive and highly verbal throughout the entire game, the crowd screamed at referees for “bogus” fouls and yelled “whoa” and “what” in disagreement. The energy on the court was matched by the energy of the audience.
The Dons kept the Hawks scattered as they went on to win the game 73-52.
The Dons would now face the Merced College Blue Devils (10-6) who beat the Solano College Falcons (9-4) 63-56 earlier that day.
On Day 3, the Dons faced off against the Falcons in the championship game. Tired, bruised, and aching from a weekend of playing, both teams gave all they had. The first half ended with the Dons leading the Blue Devils 33-30.
At one point in the second half, three minutes passed without a point from either team before sophomore forward/center Sarah Shear made a bucket, giving a 43-38 lead to the Dons.
Midway through the second half, sophomore guard Chyna Cole tried to rush past Blue Devils sophomore guard Madeline Diamante. With feet tangling, both players went sprawling on the floor, with Cole stepping out of bounds and turning the ball over to her opponent.
The Blue Devils scored and trailed the Dons 43-42 only to have McPhearson score again to put the Dons ahead by three.
With 4:30 left on the clock, the Dons led 49-45. Once again turning the ball over and letting the Blue Devils score a bucket and a free throw; the Dons lead came down to 49-48.
The Blue Devils came strong and made a bucket, giving themselves a 50-49 lead with 2:21 left on the clock.
With several shot attempts from both sides as the minutes wound down, Michelis finally scored to put the Dons back in the lead with 10.4 seconds left in the game.
Her bucket would be the last one made, as the Blue Devils final play didn’t pull through. As the buzzer rang, screams erupted from the court as well as the crowd as the Dons ended the night 51-50.
De Anza Head Coach Arden Kragalott said that after three days, the players on both teams were tired and the game was “more about grit, heart, and playing through it.”
She said it was a good matchup and what won the game for the Dons were their offensive rebounds and defense.
“It was a combination of both,” she said. “If you play good defense and rebound well, you’re going to win.”
The Dons head into conference 9-7 and will play against Mission College (7-7) on Wednesday Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. in the De Anza gym.