THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — In one of the tightest matchups of the season, four Regals posted double-digits nights as Cal Lutheran fell late in the fourth quarter to the La Verne Leopards 87-77. Though junior Natalie Ruhl, sophomore Kailee Yan, and freshmen Cameron Mallory and Haley Tyrell led the offense, the team fell victim to the combined 62-foul night.
Ruhl once again led the team with 16 points, 3-6 in field goals and a near-perfect 9-10 from the free throw line. Yan followed with 13 points of her own, a season-high. Rounding out the group, Tyrell tallied 11 and Mallory added 10.
Tyrell got the crowd going early with a big block to stuff the Leopards first shot attempt, while Ruhl set the crowd aloud with a deep three to put the Regals on the board. However, the teams continued to respond with quick sprints up and down the court, leading to four scoring ties and four lead changes in the first quarter alone. At the end of ten, the Leopards led by five 21-16.
The second quarter fared much the same, but with a flood of fouls, the teams combining for 31 fouls in the first half alone. However, stronger shooting from the floor set up the Regals to eat at their deficit, outscoring La Verne 19-17 in the second quarter. Junior Abi Torres-Drozd got the offense rolling with the finish off a steal and the rest of the floor followed to open the period on a 13-6 scoring run.
Then, with 6:44 left in the half, Mallory brought the crowd to their feet by draining a three from the top of the arc to put the Regals on top 27-25. However, the Leopards closed out the period with the final seven of eight points to go ahead 38-35 entering the break.
Looking to break the one-possession deficit, Yan went off in the third quarter, picking up seven straight points for Cal Lutheran through the top half of the period. Sophomore Jade Jordan followed it up with a three at the halfway point to finally bring the Regals even 47-47.
The toe-to-toe battle continued into the final ten minutes, Cal Lutheran trailing by just one point 65-64, but a big fourth quarter at the free throw line for La Verne and defense holding Cal Lutheran scoreless from the 7:56 to 2:56 mark allowed them to break away late for the 87-77 victory.
Wednesday's result moves Cal Lutheran to 7-10 overall on the year and 4-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The team wraps up its three-game home stretch on Saturday, January 19, against the Whittier Poets at 2 p.m.
Box Score: LV 87, CLU 77
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director