Offensive Explosion as CLU Outlasts Leopards, Claims First Place
Regals score most points in 17 years and claim first place in SCIAC
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The battle of the two top teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) lived up to its billing as Cal Lutheran scored the most points in a single game since 1995, defeating La Verne 110-95 Saturday night in Gilbert Arena. The last time Cal Lutheran had a higher offensive output was back on January 6, 1995 when the Regals trounced Mills College 122-45.
With the win, Cal Lutheran ascends to the top of the SCIAC standings halfway through conference play.
Playing against the up-tempo style of La Verne, Cal Lutheran had five scorers go for double-figures including a career-high 34 points from Starla Wright.
Cal Lutheran actually got off to a faster start than the hurry-up offense of the Leopards. The Regals raced out to an 8-0 lead, connecting back-to-back three-pointers from Alex Nelson and Channing Fleischmann.
However, La Verne would climb back to tie two minutes later as Brittni Tapia sank one of the 30 three-pointers La Verne in the first half, squaring the game at 8 all with 16:46 left.
Five minutes later, with Cal Lutheran leading 25-19, La Verne sunk three-pointers on consecutive possessions to tie the game up again at 25-25. The teams would exchange baskets before Leopards took their first lead after Tapia hit another three, making the score 30-29.
The Regals would response however, reclaiming the lead with a little under three minutes to go in the half after going on a 13-4 run, highlighted by a Jazmyne Porter three-pointer that made the score 42-34.
The back-and-fourth player continued and just when it appeared as Cal Lutheran had taken control of the game, the Leopard’s press-break forced four straight Regals turnovers as La Verne battled back and tied the game at 48-48 with 53 seconds left to play in the half.
Following a 30 second time out by Cal Lutheran Head Coach Roy Dow, the Regals collected themselves and Erica Whitley hit an off-balance jumper in the lane with 30 seconds left to give CLU a 50-48 advantage. La Verne missed both two shots in the last 15 seconds and CLU was able to cling to the two-point lead at halftime.
Cal Lutheran put on an offensive clinic in the second half. The Regals were 25-35 from the floor (71.4%) while dishing out 14 assists. Wright had 25 points in the half alone.
The tug-of-war between the two continued through the first seven minutes of the second half as the teams were knotted at 66-66 after Kimmie Fung hit a 15-foot jumper.
The Leopards began to cool off offensively though and the Regals capitalized, scoring six straight points on fast breaks. Porter pushed the Regals lead to seven after she stole the ball away from a Leopard guard, dodged a defender and raced down the court for a nice left handed finish, making the score 76-69.
Four minutes later, La Verne would have one last gasp when Megan Musashi hit a three-pointer that made the score 79-74. On the following possession Lina Arreola hit a fade-away three despite being fouled by Nelson. Arreola hit the free-throw to complete the four-point play, pulling the Leopards to within one at 79-78.
But that’s as close as they would get as Cal Lutheran hit nine of its final ten shots down the stretch.
Wright got the Regals back in front by three after hitting a jumper from just below the elbow then a possession later converting on a fast-break thanks to a nifty bounce pass from Nelson.
One final fast break lay-up from Porter put the game out of reach as CLU went up 105-94. Cal Lutheran would hit five free-throws in the final two minutes to push their total to 110 points and it marked the second this season they’d hit the century mark.
In addition to her career-high 34 points, Wright hauled seven rebounds. The senior from Los Angeles, Calif. is averaging 21 points over her last five games.
Porter also finished with a career-high 21 points while dishing out a team-high seven assists.
Fleischmann had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
In her continuing her pursuit of her first career triple-double, Whitley came close for the second straight game, tallying nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to go along with five steals as well.
Rachel Heagy rounded out the Regals in double-figures finishing with 10 points.
Amanda Copas led the Leopards with 17 points while Lindsey Foster and Arreola each tallied with 13. Fung and Tapia rounded out the Leopards in double-figures, finishing with 12 and 11 points respectively.
With the win, Cal Lutheran improves to 13-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference. La Verne drops to 8-6 overall and 5-1 in the SCIAC.
The now first-place Regals are back in action next Thursday, Jan. 17, when they take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 7:30 p.m. in Claremont, Calif.
Box Score: CLU 110 ULV 95