Regals Use Big Second Half to Fend Off Tigers

Mackenzy Iwahashi dropped 15 points on the night. (Photo Credit: Gabby Flores)
Mackenzy Iwahashi dropped 15 points on the night. (Photo Credit: Gabby Flores)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Cal Lutheran out-scored Occidental 43-28 in the second half to propel themselves to a very important 75-66 conference victory.

"Defensively we stepped it up in the second half," said Head Coach Kelli DiMuro. "We feel really good and offensively we're clicking. We were moving the ball well. That's the identity of this team, to have chemistry on both offense and defense."

The Regals (4-8, 2-3 SCIAC) put together another impressive offensive display as they had four of their five starters finish in double-digit scoring. Their defense proved to be stingy as well, holding the Tigers (6-8, 1-4 SCIAC) to just 35.8% from the field.

Natalie Ruhl led CLU with 19 points, using the three-ball to her advantage as she went 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Cameron Mallory notched her second double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Mackenzy Iwahashi was extremely efficient running the offense, going 5-of-8 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to total 15 points on the night. Jozie Tangeman made her presence felt of the offensive end with 12 points to her name.

Occidental quickly found their rhythm through Maylene U. Hughes, who would prove to be their focal point offensively. A furious start gave the visitors a 19-10 lead to force a Cal Lutheran timeout. The Regals would find themselves trailing by six (24-18) after the first quarter.

CLU would get things going in the second period as Taylor Oshiro and Iwahashi finished a pair of tough layups to get their team back in the game. Karly Beyers entered the game and hit a three-pointer shortly after stepping onto the floor to keep the momentum in the Regals' favor. Despite the improved offensive performance, CLU would trail 38-32 at the break.

The third quarter would prove to be the turning point for the hosts, out-scoring the opposition 24-16 after Ruhl knocked down back-to-back triples to give Cal Lutheran some much-needed confidence shooting the basketball. Ruhl would later hit her third three-pointer of the quarter to give the Regals the lead. Mallory got her name on the scoresheet with two consecutive baskets to extend the lead and Cal Lutheran would lead 56-54 heading into the final 10 minutes.

The teams would trade baskets for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as the Regals would retain their two-point advantage. A huge three-pointer from Mallory, her only three of the night, gave her team a five-point lead with just over three minutes left and Cal Lutheran would not look back. Free throws from Ruhl and Iwahashi would seal the victory late in the fourth quarter and the Regals would cruise to their second SCIAC win of the season.

Cal Lutheran will play their final nonconference game of the season Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. when they head north to UC Santa Cruz to take on the Banana Slugs inside Kaiser Permanente Arena.


Box Score: CLU 75. OXY 66

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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director