THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran Regals owned Gilbert Arena, Saturday afternoon, posting an impressive 65-39 victory over the Whittier Poets. In their best defensive performance of the season, the team held the Poets scoreless for nearly 13 minutes and did not allow Whittier a single point the entire second quarter.
While the offense posted their third highest field goal percentage of 40.0 percent, the defense stepped up to hold their opponents to a season-low just 17.6 percent. The Regals also outshot the Poets 36.1 percent to 14.8 percent from three-point range.
Leading the offense, junior Natalie Ruhl notched her ninth double-digit performance and tied her season-high with 17 points. The guard went 5-9 from the floor and 4-7 from behind the arc. Just one point shy, sophomore Jessi Westering accrued 16 points of her own while adding eight rebounds.
Though Cal Lutheran struggled offensively in the first ten minutes, picking up just seven points to Whittier's 14, the team was far from the pit. Consecutive made free throws from sophomore Jozie Tangeman opened an offensive flood in the second quarter, igniting a 26-point unanswered scoring run for the Regals.
The stop began at the end of the first and blanked the Poets the entire second half. The Regals went 23-0 against the Poets in the second quarter, moving into a quick 30-14 lead at the half. Leading the way in the second period, Ruhl and Westering both went 2-2 in threes and added eight points apiece. Tangeman added five of her own and freshman Alexis Rodriguez picked up the final two points of the half.
The defensive stop continued into the back half of the contest, Cal Lutheran holding down Whittier for nearly the first three minutes of the quarter. On the Regals' end, on the other hand, a big three from sophomore Kailee Yan opened up the scoring for the Regals and 19-9 third period.
Though the Poets attempted a last-ditch comeback, down 49-23 in the fourth, their deficit was too deep and Cal Lutheran cruised to their fifth conference victory. Ruhl opened the fourth with another trey and ignited a slew of threes from Yan, junior Karly Beyers and senior Liana Minassian to close out the contest.
The team's 65-39 victory moves Cal Lutheran to 8-10 overall and 5-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Regals next head to Chapman on Wednesday, January 23, for a 7 p.m. conference matchup.
Postgame Interview: Natalie Ruhl and Jessi Westering
Box Score: CLU 65, WC 39
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director