THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Climbing back from an early deficit, the Cal Lutheran Regals brought themselves back within a one-possession game in the final minute against the Caltech Beavers but could not get their final shots to fall and succumbed by a final score 63-56, Wednesday night.
Early shooting woes struck the Regals hard, closing the game shooting just 32.8 percent from the floor compared to 53.7 percent from the Beavers. Leading the way for Cal Lutheran, junior Natalie Ruhl picked up her 11th double-digit scoring night on the year with 11 points. The guard now averages a team-best 10.1 points per game. Following just behind, sophomore Jozie Tangeman picked up an additional 10 points, her second consecutive double-digit night.
Cal Lutheran opened the game behind a deep three at the top of the arc from Tangeman that caught all net to ignite the Regals offense. Fellow sophomore guard Kailee Yan followed her up with a trey of her own to put the team up early 6-4 halfway into the first. However, the Beavers began to catch fire in the paint and shot 64.3 percent from the floor in the first quarter.
Down an early 19-11 after the first ten, Cal Lutheran nearly doubled their shooting percentage from the first quarter, 22.2 percent, to 41.2 percent in the second and scored 10 of their 15 points in the period in the paint.
Ruhl led the way in the final minutes of the half, finding her groove after a euro-step layup with two minutes winding down on the clock. Freshman Mackenzy Iwahashi continued the offensive upswing with a fastbreak in the closing minute off a steal at half court and the sent team into the locker room trailing 38-26.
Beginning to cut at the deficit, Ruhl opened the second half the same way Tangeman had done in the first – another big three to get the offense rolling. With the momentum beginning to shift in Cal Lutheran's favor, sophomore Zoe Tinsley brought the bench to their feet with 5:15 on the clock, nailing a three of her own and first points since returning from injury.
Holding on to the slight offensive upswing, Cal Lutheran recorded their highest scoring period of the night in the fourth with 16 points. Junior Abi Torres-Drozd brought the team within single digits 54-45 with a trey with seven to play. A series of quick field goals from Tangeman and freshman Haley Tyrell then continued to close the gap until the Regals trailed by just two points with 49 seconds on the clock.
However, a layup from the Beavers' Madeline Schemel and back-to-back free throws from Grace Peng in the final seconds sunk the Regals' comeback and notched Caltech's first victory over Cal Lutheran in program history.
The loss moves Cal Lutheran to 8-12 overall and 5-6 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Regals return to Gilbert Arena on Saturday, February 2, at 5 p.m. versus the Occidental Tigers.
Box Score: CIT 63, CLU 56
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director