THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Cal Lutheran used a fantastic performance on both ends of the floor to knock off Redlands, leaders of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), Saturday afternoon inside Gilbert Arena. Prior to the contest, the Bulldogs sat atop of the SCIAC standings with an undefeated record in SCIAC play.
"I thought we came out with great defensive intensity," said Head Coach Kelli DiMuro. "We've really been preaching that in the second half of the season. We've been getting their heads around getting stops and making sure they're excited about it."
Jozie Tangeman led all scorers with 19 points and also grabbed five rebounds, making it nine straight games in which the junior has scored 10 or more points. Mackenzy Iwahashi also had a big night, adding 14 points and nine rebounds with four assists. Iwahashi was also outstanding on the defensive end of the floor, tallying three steals. Haley Tyrell poured in 10 points, while Natalie Ruhl and Taylor Oshiro chipped in with nine and seven points, respectively.
"Jozie has been so consistent in everything that she does. Offensively she's smooth and always knows where to go on the floor to find her shots. She's also been a great defender for us," DiMuro said.
The Regals (7-12, 4-7 SCIAC) were very efficient shooting the basketball, going 27-of-59 from the floor. CLU boxed out well against their taller foes, out-rebounding the Bulldogs (14-5, 9-1 SCIAC) 39-36.
The game started off with a deep three-pointer from Ruhl to get things going offensively. After the Bulldogs responded with a three of their own, the Purple and Gold played both great offense and defense, forcing Redlands to take heavily contested shots. Cal Lutheran was hot early, with a bank shot and two made free throws by Tyrell to cap off an 11-0 run before the opponents could take a timeout. This put CLU up 14-3 with 4:40 left in the quarter.
The Regals continued to play stellar two-way basketball, notably forcing a shot-clock violation on defense and making impressive driving layups by Iwahashi and Tyrell. Cal Lutheran only surrendered eight points in the entire first quarter and took a commanding 23-8 lead at the start of the second quarter.
The Purple and Gold continued their domination on both ends of the floor by not allowing a point until the 6:37 mark. The Regals had back-to-back blocks on the same possession, and Oshiro made her presence felt with a driving layup as well as a three-pointer. Iwahashi continued the run by scoring an open transition layup after a great defensive sequence. With 1:44 left in the half, Tangeman hit an 'and-one' layup and the free throw to increase the lead to 24 points, CLU were now up 39-15. At the end of the first half, Cal Lutheran held a commanding 20-point lead, 39-19.
The second half started with two made layups by Tangeman and Iwahashi. CLU continued their excellent defense by not allowing a score from the visitors until 8:06 left in the quarter. Iwahashi would then score the next seven points by herself, ending it with a made layup despite some contact. She managed to later complete the three-point play by knocking down the free throw. The Regals defense was impressive, often not letting the Bulldogs score a basket in long spurts throughout the quarter. Redlands did make a short run towards the end of the quarter, but at the end of the third period, the Purple and Gold were still up by double-digits 55-39.
The fourth quarter started off with a bang, a deep triple from Karly Beyers giving her team some breathing room. The opponents were able to cut the lead down to eleven by playing good defense and making some tough shots. After a shot scoring drought by the Regals, Tangeman changed that with a crafty spin layup and hit a corner three on the next possession to increase the lead to 16 points with 3:20 left. Despite the Bulldogs playing full-court defense in the fourth quarter, the hosts still found a way to score. After two made free throws by Tyrell, there was no chance at a comeback, as Cal Lutheran dominated the game and took home the victory, 71-54.
This was a huge win for the Regals, as they beat the top team in the SCIAC. Cal Lutheran will look to continue their great play next Wednesday against Chapman at 7 p.m. inside Gilbert Arena.
Box Score: CLU 71, UR 54
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Release by Jakar Oriseh, Sports Information Assistant