HAYWARD — Down 72-70, with 18 seconds left against Chabot College on Friday night, the City College of San Francisco women's basketball team had the in-bound after a time out. Freshman forward Errayana Hatfield caught the ball and had an open look to tie the game up, but instead passed the ball to Samantha Erisman.
The sophomore guard caught it and took the three, giving the Rams a 73-72 lead.
"We knew they were going to hang up on her so we used a decoy, and she came off a screen so they might loose her, and we got her open," head coach Derek Lau said. "We knew she was going to hit a big shot for us all season long. She is a big time player. We had two big time teams here today, and we did a great job of executing at the end. Can't complain."
Erisman's shot spurred a 74-72 win, City College's 12th in a row, and the Rams' fifth in a row to start Coast Conference play. That puts City College in first place in the Coast Conference with seven games left to play in the regular season.
"Errayana had it open, but she said, 'We're going to win the game,'" Erisman said. "That was the play. Derek drew up a great play and we ran it perfectly. It was one of my three best shots ever."
Before the exciting finish, momentum had swung back and forth for much of the evening. The Rams (16-2, 5-0) had gotten off to a hot start, and by the end of the first quarter were winning 23-16. The offense was aggressive, and moved the ball well. Erisman, who scored 12 points, finished one early fast break with a behind-the-back pass to Vivian Woo for a bucket.
The second quarter proved to be the opposite for City College. The Rams only scored four points, and took nearly seven minutes to score their first basket of the quarter, as Chabot took a 38-27 lead into the half.
"We knew it would level, the rules of basketball," Lau said. "We couldn't make anything in the second quarter, we knew that wasn't going to last. We are too good of a shooting team for that last. We knew it would turn around in third or fourth quarter. We just had to believe in ourselves and stick together."
The Rams came storming out of the gates to start the third quarter, going on a 13-0 run, holding Chabot without a basket until nearly halfway through the quarter. Woo scored nine of her team-high 19 points in the third, all on threes. Woo finished the game with five made shots from downtown.
"I was just shooting it whenever I was open," Woo said. "I started a bit rough, but my teammates kept encouraging me, 'Shoot it, don't stop.'"
By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Rams led 55-48, but the first five minutes were tough. Chabot had reclaimed the lead, 65-57, but City College was able to claw back. Woo hit a big three that helped shift momentum while Hatfield scored several tough buckets in the paint. With two minutes left, Chabot still clung to a 70-66 lead, but clutch baskets by Woo and sophomore guard Anissah Dorsey tied the game up at 70, and put Erisman in position to make her big shot.
The two teams — tied for the conference lead headed into Friday — will meet again at City College on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.
"It feels good but it is only the first round, we got to play another game, so we can't let that go." Woo said. "This game we beat them by two, next game we got to beat them by more. This is just the beginning."