UC Merced women get first victory

slynch@mercedsunstar.comNovember 21, 2012 

As Sonia Aguilar's three-quarter-court heave fell harmlessly short, the UC Merced women's basketball team mobbed together in celebration.

The team's first victory in school history warranted hugs and chest bumps for everyone, with a few extra pats on the back going Daman Singh's way.

With most of the Golden Bobcats' post players fouled out or in foul trouble, the freshman from Atwater found herself in an unlikely situation -- on the court with 13.2 seconds to play and the game on the line.

Holy Names overplayed the inbounds pass defensively, trying to deny UCM shooting guard Shelby Howard (school-record 35 points). And that left Singh wide open at the back door as she came off of her screen.

The first bucket of her collegiate career proved to be the game-winner in a 71-69 victory at Hostetler Court on Wednesday night.

"It's all about preparation," UC Merced head coach Kevin Pham said. "Daman comes to practice and works hard every day.

"She knows she's not going to see a ton of minutes, but it's all about being ready to go when your team needs you.

"She was the last option on that inbound play, but she seized the opportunity when it came to her."

Singh's basket capped a wild second-half comeback for the Bobcats (1-4).

Down by as many as 10 in the second half, a Howard layup gave UCM its first lead of the game with 9:25 to play.

Howard and Reanna Karp (15 points) combined for 10 3-pointers to lead the second-half charge.

The Bobcats maintained the lead for the next five minutes, but failed to expand it.

Holy Names (0-3) took advantage when Aguilar hit a 3-pointer and drew the foul with 4:35 left. The four-point play put the Hawks back on top 65-62.

Howard's final 3 of the night tied the game at 69 with 1:39 to play.

The Bobcats' defense took over from there. Holy Names committed two of its 36 turnovers on the next two possessions to help set up Singh's heroics.

"Thanksgiving just got a little better," Singh said. "I thought my playing days were over when high school ended, so I'm so grateful for this opportunity.

"The ball was supposed to go to Adrienne (Carmona), but I guess she got hung up. When I came off the screen I yelled, 'Ball!' and was fortunate enough to make the shot."

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