Regals Punch Ticket to NCAA Playoffs

CLU comes back to take down Chapman

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 11:31 pm

The women's basketball team earned their eighth ticket to the NCAA tournament with a SCIAC Post Season Tournament victory tonight.


Credit: Tracy Maple Hi-res image

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The basketball dramatics continued on the court in the 2013 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic (SCIAC) Women’s Basketball Post Season Tournament Championship game tonight at the Gilbert Arena. It was the top seeded Cal Lutheran Regals who came back for a 59-54 victory to earn their second Post Season Tournament title and punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.

Chapman came out fired up, using a 10-1 run to take a 14-3 advantage at the 13:40 mark of the opening half in a pressure-packed game for both teams. Starla Wright scored in the paint to get the CLU offense going as the Regals went on to score the next seven points unanswered. Just when Cal Lutheran got themselves within striking distance at 14-10, Chapman responded with four more points of their own to push the gap to eight-points at 18-10.

That was the largest difference on the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest.

With 5:01 in the first period Wright layed in the second of her two buckets in the half to knot things at 19-19. The teams would play back-and-forth basketball for the next five minutes. Alex Nelson hit a pair of free-throws to tie things at 23-23 and it looked as the teams would be even at the intermission but Kimi Takaoka scored the final three points of her first half output with a long bucket at the buzzer to give the Panthers a slight 26-23 edge.

After the break Takaoa added to the lead with a pair of free-throws for a 28-23 CU advantage, but CLU stormed back.

Channing Fleischmann hit a three-pointer followed by a layup from Natalia Stone and a pair of free-throws from Fleischmann were good before and Jazmyne Porter and Wright layups turned the deficit into a seven-point CLU lead with 13:18 to play in regulation.

The Panthers continued to look to Takaoka who gave CU a 38-37 lead on a jumper, which would be the final time Chapman would lead.

Porter got the CLU crowd on its feet on the next possession when she drove through traffic for a layup and drew a foul, converting the and-one.

Takaoka knocked down a three-pointer at 7:51 to tie the teams for the fifth time in the game, at 40-40, but it was the Regals who closed the game out.

Porter broke the tie with another bucket on which she was fouled to get the crowd loud and on its feet. At 2:41 Fleischmann scored from long range on an assist from Stone.

As expected, the final 51 seconds saw a number of fouls and free-throws. CLU was 9-for-10 down the stretch.

CLU was leading 52-49 with 43 seconds to play after Fleischmann hit two from the charity stripe when Porter turned the ball over under the Panthers net. Unrattled she immediately forced a turnover and got the steal. Stone was then fouled and put both in to make it a two possession game.

Stone went on to convert two more with 20 ticks to play and Porter tacked on two at the 13 second mark to make it a seven-point game and all but lock up the victory.  

Takaoka led all players with 32 points, including five three-pointers, as the only CU player to reach double figures two nights after all five starters scored more than 10 points. Anne Yoshimura handed out a game-high five assists for a CU team that shot 37.7 percent from the floor this evening.

Porter led the Regals with 18 points on 5-for-11 shooting and a 7-for-8 night at the line. She handed out a team-high four assists as well, coming away with a huge steal and six rebounds. Fleischmann also broke into double digits with 12 points, hitting two three-pointers while Nelson and Stone each tallied eight and Wright chipped in with seven. The Regals combined to shoot 38.6 percent from the field and connected for 76.9 percent of their free-throw attempts.

Defensively CLU had one more rebound, 34, than Chapman, though the Panthers grabbed seven offensive boards to the Regals’ six. Wright and Sandra Gao shared the game-high with 10 apiece, though Wright came down with five at each end and she added a block. Rachel Heagy also recorded a block for CLU.

Cal Lutheran (23-4) earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament set to begin March 1. Chapman (21-6) still has an outside chance to earn a Pool C bid.  The selection show for the field of 64-teams will be announced on Monday at 11:30 a.m. PST.

Box Score: CLU 59, CLU 54