Sarah Mackey (#32) on Nov. 15. Photo by Stephen De Ropp.
Sarah Mackey (#32) on Nov. 15. Photo by Stephen De Ropp.

Star forward Sarah Mackey solidified her place in Slugs basketball history last weekend when she recorded her 670th career rebound to become the all-time leading rebounder in UC Santa Cruz women’s basketball history. She had one word to describe it — “awesome” — as the crowd roared in light of her achievement.

“It has been a pleasure, it’s all because of my team. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Mackey said after the game.

Mackey, now in her fourth and final year with the team, scored 20 points and 12 rebounds against Bethesda Christian University on Jan. 24 as she moved in to first place on the career rebounds list, surpassing Amanda Brecht, who held the record with 669 since 2005.

Head coach Todd Kent said this achievement is a culmination of Mackey’s hard work and dedication.

“It doesn’t surprise me. She is a kid who has done a really nice job over the course of the past four years and it is going to break my heart when the senior class graduates,” Kent said. “She is a great kid and I’m proud of her, proud of what she has accomplished here at UCSC.”

The Slugs fell that night as they took on Bethesda without their leading scorer and rebounder, Leah Parrish. Parrish was forced to watch from the bench in street clothes as she recovered from a lumbar puncture procedure she received during treatment for an infection earlier in the week.

“It was the worst feeling in the world. It is never fun sitting around when you feel you could be helping your team on the court,” Parrish said. “They played very well and people stepped up. I did my best to cheer them on.”

Having won their previous contest against Menlo College on Jan. 15 by a final score of 71-57, the Slugs hoped Saturday evening’s matchup would be no different. However, they were unable to hold off a second-half comeback by Bethesda and ended up losing a 60-58 nail biter.

The team struggled from the field in the game, going 23-79 for a 29.1 shooting percentage, one of its worst of the season. It also shot only 2-24 from the 3-point range.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well today. We had been shooting the ball very well in the past couple of games,” head coach Kent said. “We struggled with getting a rhythm on offense and we allowed for [Bethesda] to pressure us and force us into positions we are not used too, so a lot of it had to do with our shooting percentage being off today.”

The loss brings the Slugs to 13-7 for the season. The team looks to be completely out of playoff contention with the loss, having now lost two of its last three contests. With only five games left, the Slugs will seek redemption as they face Bethesda Christian again on Feb. 7 at Kaiser Permanente Arena.

“We play this team again in two weeks. We’re going to watch the film and we’re going to talk a little bit about shot selections that we need to do a better job of getting and just come back out to try it again.” Kent said. “It has been a good year, the kids have worked really hard and we have improved each game.”