Lockdown Defense Propels Regals to Win Over Westcliff

Photo Credit: Gabby Flores
Photo Credit: Gabby Flores

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.–In what was their best defensive performance of the season, Cal Lutheran made some big plays on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter to hold onto their late lead and defeat Westcliff University 62-58, Saturday afternoon inside Gilbert Arena.

The Regals held their opponent to just 58 points which is the least amount of points they have allowed in a game this season. WCU shot just 37.9% from the field due to the pressure applied by the CLU defense.

"I thought we did a great job of closing the game," said Head Coach Kelli DiMuro. "We only gave up 58 points which met our goal. [Westcliff] battled and they hit some shots but we played some awesome defense down the stretch."

Jozie Tangeman posted a team-high 17 points on 7-13 shooting. The junior knocked down two threes, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists to complete her night. Mackenzy Iwahashi was extremely effective on both ends of the floor, pouring in 10 points and snatching a career-high eight steals.

Cal Lutheran started off hot in the first quarter as Tangeman finished a layup while receiving some contact for a successful and-one to start the contest. Cameron Mallory followed it up with a layup after fighting for an offensive rebound to make it a 5-0 run. The teams would trade baskets for the remainder of the quarter but the hosts would retain a 14-13 lead after the first 10 minutes.

Natalie Ruhl got in on the action by opening the second period with one of her two three-pointers to get things started for the Regals. CLU pushed their lead to eight points going into the break and felt confident going into the second half.

Cal Lutheran would lead by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, but the visitors rallied to eventually take the advantage. The Regals would manage to tie the score at 46-46 going into the final 10 minutes.

Taylor Oshiro hit a very important three just over the four-minute mark to regain the lead as the Regals began to pull away in the final minutes. With just over three minutes left to play, Iwahashi began to put her defense on display as she finished a layup after a steal to push the lead back to three points. Iwahashi picked the offensive player's pocket to grab yet another steal and this team forced an intentional foul from the visitors and that would all but seal the game in the final minute. Two more free throws from Mallory put the game on ice and CLU would walk away with a 62-58 victory.

Cal Lutheran looks forward to another nonconference contest when they travel to San Diego, Calif. to take on Lake Superior St. Dec. 20 at 10 a.m.


Box Score: CLU 62, WCU 58

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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director