SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Cal Lutheran's Nayiri Aslanian made two free-throws with 5.9 seconds left and the Regals' defense made one final stop as CLU prevailed over the Catholic University Cardinals, 57-55, Wednesday night in Kaiser Permanente Arena at the UC Santa Cruz December Classic.
Kayla Watterson and Kiana Gray were named to the UC Santa Cruz December Classic All-Tournament Team. The Regals (6-3) went 1-1 at the tournament as they came up short against No. 4 Wartburg Tuesday by a final score of 53-50.
Gray led the Regals against the Cardinals and scored 14 points and made 3-of-4 three-pointers. Aslanian came off the bench and scored 10 points and added four rebounds. Danielle Roumbos scored eight points including two big three-pointers.
Jessi Westering saw her first minutes of the season and scored five points in her debut as she made both shots that she took. Watterson also scored five points and added 12 rebounds. Kailee Yan led the team in assists and steals as she recorded three of each.
The first quarter saw runs from both teams. Catholic started the game on a 6-1 run. Cal Lutheran answered back with a 5-3 run and trailed 8-6. The Regals answered every Cardinal run with one of its own, but it was Catholic that had the lead at the end of the first quarter at 17-13.
In the second quarter, Catholic added to its lead and was up 21-15. Roumbos hit a three-pointer with 5:30 left in the half and CLU trailed 23-20. Catholic then scored five straight points before Aslanian stopped the run with a three-pointer. Roumbos added a layup on the ensuing possession to bring the score back to a three-point difference at 28-25.
After a steal by Yan, Watterson made a layup and Catholic's lead was down to one. Catholic was able to hold off Cal Lutheran and had the lead at halftime, 33-29.
Gray got the scoring going for the Regals in the second half as she started with a three-pointer. A blocked shot by Watterson led to shot clock violation. Jozie Tangeman made one of two free throws on the next possession and CLU was down by two, 35-33.
The Regals took their first lead of the game, 36-35, with 4:40 left in the third as Gray hit a deep three-pointer. The teams went scoreless over the next few minutes. After a Cardinals' basket, Westering made two free throws to give Cal Lutheran a 38-37 lead. She followed it up with a three-pointer a minute later and the Regals were up 41-39. Catholic closed out the third quarter on a 5-0 run and led 44-41.
Yan tied up the game to start the fourth as she nailed a wide-open three-pointer. The Cardinals answered with a 5-0 run and took a 49-44 lead. Gray stopped the run with another three-pointer and the lead was back down to two, 49-47. Natalie Ruhl added a three-pointer a little bit later to give CLU a 51-49 lead. Altogether, the Regals scored eight straight points and had a 53-49 lead.
Catholic University answered back and the game was tied at 53 with three minutes left. After the Cardinals took the lead, Yan tied it back up at 55. The score remained tied over the next minutes. With 5.9 seconds left, Aslanian was fouled and went to the free-throw line with a chance to take the lead. She made both and gave the Regals the 57-55 lead. The Cardinals had one final chance. CLU's defense made one final stop as the Regals prevailed 57-55.
The Regals shot 43.5 percent from three-point range and held the Cardinals to 22.2 percent. Catholic University outscored Cal Lutheran in the paint, 30-8, but it was the three-pointers that made the difference as CLU made 10 compared to CU's two.
The Regals continue the season at home and host the Cal Lutheran Tournament. CLU takes on Pacific Lutheran on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 4 p.m. and then Buena Vista Friday, Dec. 29, at 4.
Box Score: CLU 57, CU 55
W Basketball Instagram: @regals_basketball
W Basketball Twitter: @CLUwBasketball
CLU Instagram: @clusports
CLU Twitter: @CLUSports
CLU Facebook: CLU Sports
Hashtags: #clusports #goregals #gokingsmen #ownthethrone #theSCIAC #ncaad3
Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director