WHITTIER, Calif.–Cal Lutheran and Whittier played a back-and-forth game, with both teams scoring some big baskets down the stretch. Eventually, it came down to costly turnovers and the Poets would take advantage of them to come out victorious with a final score 85-75.
Cameron Mallory led the CLU offensively with 18 points, adding five rebounds and an assist. Natalie Ruhl had 14 points, with Jozie Tangeman and Mackenzy Iwahashi pouring in 10 points. Taylor Oshiro chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds off the bench. Jade Jordan also contributed 10 points as six Regals would score in double figures on the night.
The game started out hot, with both teams finding their stroke offensively. The Regals started the game up 9-7 and forced a Whittier timeout. Cal Lutheran was great on the offensive glass and second-chance points in the first quarter. In the opening 10 minutes, CLU made five threes and capitalized on the Poets turnovers, with the score at the end of the first quarter being 24-16 in favor of the Regals.
The next score did not come for nearly three minutes, where at the 7:25 mark, the Poets made a driving layup. The Regals finally scored a minute later when Mallory made a tough layup in the lane.
The Regals started strong by playing great defense and creating turnovers, which led to scores, and CLU would hold the advantage with a 14-point lead. The Regals took a time out at the 1:35 mark after the Poets went on a 10-0 run, cutting their lead to just four. At the break, Cal Lutheran would lead 35-32.
Despite the lead, the hosts shot better from the field and were the leader in the rebound department, out-rebounding CLU 23-16. The Poets took their first lead of the game early in the third quarter with a score of 38-37.
Whittier took advantage of this by playing great defense before going on a 14-3 run, hitting three shots from beyond the arc in a row, the last by Poets' Daisy Cardenas.
Whittier took a 10-point lead before Mallory stopped the run by hitting another tough layup.
At the end of the third quarter, the Poets were leading 60-51. In the fourth quarter, the Regals cut the lead to just three, giving their team a fighting chance in the final minutes.
The contest was very close in the fourth quarter, with both teams going back-and-forth making some very important baskets. Ruhl made a tough runner to bring the Regals within two points with less than two minutes to play.
In the final minute, Cal Lutheran made a costly turnover and Whittier would take advantage of it. The hosts used that momentum to take an 80-71 lead with 36 seconds left. With some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch, the Poets clinched victory with an 85-75 win.
Cal Lutheran will look to get back to their winning ways when they face Westcliff University Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. inside Gilbert Arena.
Box Score: CLU 75, WC 85
Release by Jakar Oriseh, Sports Information Student Assistant