Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's basketball team suffered their first loss on the season Saturday afternoon inside of the Graham Athletic Center as they fell 61-58 to Cal Lutheran University.
The game came down to the final minute of play. Deadlocked at 58-58, the Regals' Natalie Ruhl would connect from the corner that gave CLU a 61-58 lead. Whittier had :06 seconds remaining but Teani White's (Burbank, Calif.) three-point attempt would be off the mark as Cal Lutheran would hold on for the victory.
The Purple & Gold outscored the Regals in three of the four quarters but saw a 21-11 margin after the first quarter prove crucial down the stretch. White led the Poets finishing with 14 points going 6-for-11 from the field with six boards, three assists and two steals.
Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.) ran into foul trouble early in the game getting forced to sit out the entire second quarter. But she still finished with 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting to go with three rebounds and a pair of assists. Emily Guerena (Montebello, Calif.) added nine points off the bench and Laura Stroud (Ann Arbor, MI) and Zaria Branch (San Diego, Calif.) each added six points. Stroud also added a game high nine boards all coming on the defensive end.
The Poets fell behind 21-11 after the first quarter due in large part to CLU going 5-for-9 from deep (55.6%). Whittier though rebounded outscoring the Regals 19-18 in the second with White going a perfect 3-for-3 from the field for six points that cut the deficit to nine at the break.
Out of the half, CLU extended the lead to 11 after a Jessi Westering jumper but that lead soon diminished as WC would go on a 13-3 run. Stroud and Guerena would go back to back with jumpers and was followed by a White free-throw, and lay-ins by Branch and White. Capping off the spurt was Cubel with two free throws and Monica Hanna (Bellflower, Calif.) with a jumper that pulled Whittier within one at 44-43.
Ruhl would end the run with a triple pushing the lead back to four. Cubel then responded with a lay-up with 1:32 left in the frame but after that Taylor Oshiro and Westering would add another two three-pointers that handed CLU a six point lead heading to the final period.
The quarter remained scoreless over the first two and half minutes. White got the scoring started at the 8:18 mark with a layup and then connected on a triple on the Poets next possession. After a missed three-pointer from the Regals, Branch would come down and kiss one off the glass that gave Whittier a 54-53 lead. Stroud extended the advantage to three after a baseline jumper and then Cubel would tack on another two with free-throws that gave WC a five-point lead with 2:52 to play.
On CLU's next possession, Kailee Yan would connect from downtown that cut the deficit to two. Then after a missed Mia Maglinte (Roseville, Calif.) three-pointer, the Regals would come down and tie things up with two free-throws coming from Jozie Tangeman.
Whittier outshot Cal Lutheran 46.2%-31.7% but saw CLU post a 41.2% mark from behind the arc. Whittier won the battle inside holding the edge on the glass 33-29 and added 18 points inside the paint.
Whittier remains in conference play next Wednesday, December 5 as they host the University of Redlands beginning at 7:00pm.