THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran women's basketball team will have a new-look to the team after graduating six seniors from last year's squad, but that won't stop the Regals from competing for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship in 2017-18.
Fifth-year Head Coach Lindsay Samaniego returns seven student-athletes and has brought in nine. With the top-five scorers from last year gone, it allows the current student-athletes to step in and expand their roles.
"We have great personality on our team and I think that's going to go a long way for us," said Samaniego. "We have really good people in our program. They all get along really well, so we're excited to see how that translates to on the floor.
"We have a good core returning and we can look at them a lot for some leadership. They've prepared really hard over the summer and they know this is their time."
Kiana Gray is back for her senior season. She played in 12 games last season and scored just over four points per game. She added almost two rebounds and just over one assist per game. She shot 42.3 percent from the three-point line. Look for her to play in more games and have more minutes this year. She is joined by transfer Nayiri Aslanian who played the last two seasons at Texas A&M International University.
The junior class is led by Grace Derksen. She started 23 of 26 games from a year ago. She led the team in free throw percentage (85), was third on the team in assists (55) and scored in double figures in four games. She chipped-in with 2.2 rpg and tallied 23 steals. Since joining the Regals in 2015-16, she has played in every game. Looking to step into bigger roles are classmates Liana Minassian, Danielle Roumbos, Rylie Wada and transfer Kayla Watterson. The trio of Minassian, Roumbus and Wada each played in 14-plus games last year. Watterson comes to CLU after playing two years at San Francisco State University.
Natalie Ruhl, Zoe Tinsley and transfer Samantha Wessel make up the sophomore class. Tinsley led the freshmen class last year in ppg with 4.5 and Ruhl scored 2.7. Wessel (Chandler, Ariz.) helped lead her high school team to three state championships.
The freshmen class consists of Tea Carbullido (Los Alamitos, Calif.), Jade Jordan (Valencia, Calif.), Taylor Oshiro (Valencia, Calif.), Jozie Tangeman (Milford, Calif.), Jessi Westering (Tacoma, Wash.) and Kailee Yan (Bellevue, Wash).
The Regals start the 2017-18 season Friday in Santa Cruz, Calif., verses UC Santa Cruz at 7 p.m. at West Field House.
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director