THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The California Lutheran University women's basketball team lost to the Westmont College Warriors in a physical non-conference game, 53-50, Saturday afternoon in Gilbert Arena. Both teams fought point for point in the final three quarters of play resulting in a close finish.
The Regals (5-2) took an early lead scoring on their first two possessions and getting three defensive stops in a row. Natalie Ruhl got a defensive rebound and drove end to end for an uncontested layup giving the Regals a 7-2 lead.
Grace Derksen did a little bit of everything for the Violet and Gold. She drew a charge on the defensive end and then nailed a jumper on the offensive side. She added a steal a few possessions later.
The Regals held Westmont to three points in the first quarter and lead 12-3. Kayla Watterson led CLU in points with four during the first quarter, but quickly added two more with an early layup in the second quarter.
The Warriors started to find their rhythm after draining a couple of three-point shots, which narrowed the score gap to five points. The Warriors continued a late push with help from another three-point shot by Lauren Tsuneishi and a layup from Lauren McCoy to bring the game within two points. Cassidy Tiegs tied the score at 20 apiece in the final 20 seconds of the second quarter.
Kiana Gray and Watterson led the Regals with six points each. Watterson added 10 rebounds and a steal in the first half.
Westmont took their first lead of the game on the first possession of the second half. However, the back and forth battle continued when Derksen took another charge resulting in a made three-point shot from Rylie Wada.
Kailee Yan added a big five points at crucial moments in the third quarter, but it was a three-pointer from Ruhl that tied it back up at 33 going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was a point for point battle. Danielle Roumbos drained a three-point shot from the corner to take the lead, but the Warriors answered back immediately. Tsuneishi then added her third three-point shot of the night to take a 43-42 lead with four minutes left.
A technical on Watterson gave the Warriors a chance to extend their lead to four, but another three-pointer by Roumbos brought it back to a one-point game. Two made free throws from Tsuneishi gave Westmont a three-point lead with a minute left in the game.
Gray got fouled on a made layup, and completed the three-point play at the line. A foul on Yan put Tsuneishi at the line for two made free throws, but Derksen answered back with two free throws of her own. With seven seconds remaining and the Regals down by three, a missed free throw by the Warriors gave CLU a chance. The last second shot did not fall for the Regals, which handed them their second loss of the season.
The Warriors won 53-50 with the help of Tsuneishi scoring 17 points. She was 6-8 at the free throw line and landed three three-point shots. McCoy scored 15 points with six rebounds.
Gray and Watterson led the Regals offensively with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Watterson added 16 rebounds on the day as she recorded a double-double. Roumbos was 3-3 on three-pointers.
Up next for the Regals is Wartburg College. CLU takes on the Knights in Santa Cruz, Calif., on Wednesday, December 20 at 4 p.m.
Box Score: WC 53, CLU 50
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director / Makenna Pellerin (Sports Information Intern)