THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Cal Lutheran women's basketball team was looking for an upset as they welcomed No. 17 George Fox to Gilbert Arena on Friday night and they nearly got one after trailing by just two points with under four minutes to go but fell behind late in a 63-52 loss to the Bruins (6-0).
"I was really proud and impressed with our effort throughout the course of the game," said head coach Lindsay Goldblatt. "I thought we made really good adjustments in the first few minutes once we settled ourselves down."
George Fox jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the early minutes of the game and forced multiple turnovers from the Regals with their full court press. After a CLU timeout gave the Regals a chance to regroup, they proceeded on a 16-9 run to make it a 22-19 game, trailing by just three points.
Trianna Owen helped spark the rally with a key three-point shot, the only field goal the Violet and Gold would hit from downtown all night. Owen added three assists in the first half and Chelsea Jacoby had a strong first half as well going 5-for-8 from the field for 12 points and six rebounds as the Regals trailed 35-29 at the break.
To start the second half Cal Lutheran went with a smaller lineup due to foul trouble as Jacoby and Katy Lindor each had three fouls apiece.
The Bruins came out at halftime looking to increase their lead but the Regals continued to respond. Haley Hodgson scored back-to-back baskets after nice feeds from Owen and Natalie Stone to keep the game close at 39-33.
Lauren Codling quickly followed with two baskets of her own to give the Bruins a 10-point lead midway through the second half.
Down 47-37, CLU had enough in the tank for another run, this time it was a 12-4 spurt fueled by a jumper from Sofia Cruz and another key jump shot from Owen. Hodgson added two key free throws to spark the run and Cruz made it a 51-49 game with two free throws of her own.
After a made basket by the Bruins and a critical turnover by the Regals, Dacia Heckendorf captured all the momentum with a three-pointer in the corner to give George Fox a seven-point lead with just 2:42 remaining.
After knocking down five three-pointers in the first half, the Bruins were 0-for-5 in the second half before Heckendorf's trey went in to take the wind out of the Regals sails.
After a few free-throws down the stretch, George Fox secured the 63-52 victory.
"I was just really proud of our fight," said coach Goldblatt. "We won the boards which was huge for us."
The Regals out-rebounded the Bruins 50-41 in the game and the battle in the paint was nearly even with the Bruins holding a slight advantage 23-22. Both teams shot below 60% from the free-throw line but George Fox converted 17-of-29 where CLU made just 11-of-22.
George Fox forward Justine Benner led all players with 20 points and added eight rebounds. Codling finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and a game-high three steals.
For the Violet and Gold, Jacoby led the way finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Cruz finished with eight points and Taylor Messick notched double-digits with 10 rebounds.
"When we are disciplined we are a very good team," said coach Goldblatt. "If we can stay on the track that we are on, things will look up for us."
Cal Lutheran (1-3) will look to stay on track as they hit the road to take on UC Merced (4-4) this Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2:00 p.m.
Box Score: GFU 63, CLU 52
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