Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. –The Whittier College Women's Basketball team picked up their biggest win on the season Wednesday night inside of the Graham Athletic Center as they dethroned the Regals of Cal Lutheran University 76-66.
It was a huge win for the Purple & Gold, which created a ripple throughout the conference as Whittier improved to 6-8, 3-2 SCIAC, while winning their second in a row and handing the Regals their first loss in SCIAC competition.
"It's Just another home win" Head Coach Roy Dow explained. "Holding serve at home is huge and tonight's win took us from two conference wins to three conference wins. Our goal now is trying to get to four conference wins and the month of January is all about positioning within the SCIAC."
The Regals got off to an early start 11-5 within the first five minutes. Newly acquired Poet Monica Hanna (Bellflower, Calif.) stopped the run with a layup at the 4:29 mark and that sparked a late push by WC who were able to pull within four at 18-14 behind a Teani White (Burbank, Calif.) three-pointer and a pair of free throws from Hanna.
CLU began pulling away in the early stages of the second quarter with a 10-2 run moving the deficit to double digits, their largest lead of the contest. But again the Poets battled with 12 unanswered, which included freshman Kami Taylor (Bakersfield, Calif.) adding two free throws and a three-pointer, Jazmyn Sudbrook-Johnson (Fremont, Calif.) knocking down a deep jumper from straight away, a layup by Emilee Dy (Chino Hills, Calif.), and extra free throws from Sudbrook-Johnson and Hanna. This run put the Poets on top for the first time since the opening basket of the game but they still saw themselves trailing by four at the break.
The second half was all Whittier as they outscored the Regals 44-30. The third quarter was back and forth early but a 10-0 run midway through the frame by the Purple & Gold proved costly for CLU. During the run, Mia Maglinte (Roseville, Calif.) connected from deep twice and White and Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.) each added layups that moved the score to 48-45 in favor of Whittier. Jessi Westering answered right back with an and one that tied the game up and a couple late free throws by CLU would again put them on top but five straight by WC over the final :30 seconds with an and one by Dy and a layin by Maglinte would give the Poets a 53-50 advantage.
In the fourth, the Poets continued to roll putting on a suffocating press that induced eight turnovers. Dy added the first three points of the quarter to move the margin to six at 56-50. Kayla Watterson tried to keep CLU in the mix with a layup soon after but that's as close as the Regals would get as White would knock down a pair of free throws sparking a 10-2 run that gave the Poets some cushion at 66-55 with 4:05 to play.
The Regals made a late push with Watterson adding two free throws and Kailee Yan knocking down a triple that again pulled CLU within six. But the deficit was too much to overcome over the final 2:00 as Hanna and Maglinte would secure the home victory with a layup and three-pointer, while five free throws down the stretch would keep the Regals at bay.
Maglinte got back to her usual self as she added 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Hanna proved big inside with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 26 minutes of action and hauled in seven boards. White ran the point and registered an impressive stat line with 14 points with four boards, three assists, and six steals, while Dy and Cubel added eight points apiece.
"We have been building towards this game, and this was one of our better organized contests," Dow stated. "We have had our share of injuries playing down a player over the last few games but we had had multiple contributions from the bench tonight. Right now we are playing with confidence and our young players are stepping up. Tons of energy from everyone and integrating Monica Hanna into the lineup who has only had six practices under her belt is a sight to see."
Whittier remains at home this Saturday, January 6 as they host Occidental College beginning at 7:00pm.