Regals Wax Poets
CLU out-rebounds WC 61-38 in victory
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Starla Wright had 17 points and 17 rebounds and Alex Nelson chipped in with 13 points as Cal Lutheran gutted out a 59-38 victory over Whittier Thursday night in the Gilbert Arena.
The Regals dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Poets 61-34 including a 25-9 advantage on the offensive end. The CLU defense was also strong as it forced Whittier to shoot 22 percent from the field, going 5-29 (17.2%) in the second half.
The game did not start as CLU fans had planned as the Regals fell behind early, 9-2, after Monica Salazar scored eight straight points. CLU and Whittier then slugged it out over the next eight minutes until Cal Lutheran took its first lead of the game on a Jazmyne Porter three-pointer, which put the Regals up 17-15 with 10:12 to play.
Cal Lutheran revved up its defense, holding the Poets without a basket for the next 13 minutes before Danielle Hays hit a jump shot with nine seconds left and sent the teams into the locker room with the Regals leading 24-17.
The second half started much the same way. Whittier cut the lead to five with 14:20 left to play before Rachel Heagy scored on back-to-back possessions to push the Regals lead back up to nine at 32-23. Heagy was the beneficiary of two of CLU’s best passes all night. The first possession saw Keeley Anderson drive the ball to the elbow causing two Poets defenders to crash in on her before the sophomore made a nifty pass over the top to a wide open Heagy. The next time down the court, Wright dribbled into the lane and pump faked, forcing a Whittier player out of position and the senior was able to sneak a pass under the defender leading to an easy two for CLU.
The Cal Lutheran offense started to heat up down the stretch, going on a 12-0 run over the next five minutes. The run was highlighted by two-three pointers from Nelson as CLU increased the lead to 43-29.
The Regals were able to close out in the finals minutes as Taylor Autry, Pia Gudmundsen and Sabrina Jimenez all saw minutes in the CLU victory.
Wright led the all players with her huge double-double. Nelson was next with 13 points while Porter finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Whittier was led offensively by Alex Coon who scored 10 points.
With the win, Cal Lutheran improves to 18-3 overall and 10-2 in the SCIAC. The 18 wins match the Regals season total from a year ago. Whittier falls to 5-15 overall and 2-9 in the SCIAC.
CLU next travels to Occidental this Saturday Feb. 2 for match-up between the top two teams in the conference. Cal Lutheran narrowly edged the Tigers 70-68 during their Jan. 5 meeting. Tip-off in Rush Gymnasium is set for 5:00 p.m.