Regals Notch Back-to-Back SCIAC Victories

Natalie Ruhl led the Regals with 16 points on the night. (Photo Credit: Gabby Flores)
Natalie Ruhl led the Regals with 16 points on the night. (Photo Credit: Gabby Flores)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Cal Lutheran used solid defense to shut down Chapman's perimeter offense, leading them to a 72-66 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) win over the Panthers, Wednesday evening in Gilbert Arena. 

This conference matchup was tight the whole game, with the biggest lead by the Regals being 11. Overcoming some strong three-point shooting in the first half from Chapman, Cal Lutheran finally got into their grove going on a 10-1 run to start the second quarter. This energy carried through the end of the game as the Purple and Gold came out on top after some intense final minutes. Shooting 62.5% from the free-throw line, the women hit some clutch free throws down the stretch to secure the important conference win to keep their postseason tournament hopes alive.

Haley Tyrell, going 6-9 from the floor, put up 13 points and 14 rebounds recording her fourth double-double of the season, helping Cal Lutheran toward this conference victory. Natalie Ruhl had 16 points and the first bucket of the game which provided the Regals with some momentum as the night went on. Jozie Tangeman added a solid 14 points, making it 10 straight games in which the junior has scored in double-digits. With 5:15 seconds left in the first quarter, Cal Lutheran trailed 9-8 but found managed to eventually find a rhythm offensively.

On the defensive end, the Regals (8-12, 5-7 SCIAC) faced a strong three-point shooting team as the Panthers put up several in the first quarter. With added energy from the bench, the Regals ended the first quarter with several defensive stops and some key transition points. However, after knocking down two more shots from beyond the arc, Chapman had a lead of 19-14 at the end of the first quarter. 

Jade Jordan had some key rebounds and fought strongly on the defensive side of the floor. Tangeman with eight rebounds and Ruhl with six, also contributed to the battle under the basket that resulted in the Panthers out-rebounding the Regals just 48-47. Chapman had some size advantage over Cal Lutheran, causing some difficulty for the hosts as they had 21 offensive rebounds. 

The transition game and the press pushed Cal Lutheran in their run to start the second quarter and reach their first lead of 24-23, thanks to Taylor Oshiro's 'and-one' with 6:25 left before half time. Knocking down a couple free throws, the Regals headed into halftime down 34-32, but with lots to give in the second half. 

Opening the half, Cameron Mallory hit an energizing triple to get things going. The Regals went up 37-34, but Chapman took off with a little run to tie the game at 40-40 with 5:34 left in the third quarter. Head Coach Kelli DiMuro elected to aggressively press in the third period and found it to work to their advantage, frustrating the Panthers who struggled to advance up the court and run their offense effectively. This resulted in the Regals' eight-point lead of 50-42 with one quarter to go. 

In a high-stress fourth quarter, the Panthers tried to cut the lead but the Purple and Gold take it up to six with 6:14 left in the game. Gaining their eight-point lead back, the Regals soon extend this dominance to 11 points. Despite their seven-point lead with 1:22 left, the Regals let Chapman hang around, but not for long. 

Mackenzy Iwahashi knocked down both free throws down the stretch and would go on to shoot a perfect 6-6 from the line. The Regals took a nine-point lead with 39.1 seconds left. Despite high tensions, as Chapman hit another three-pointer in the last two minutes, the Purple and Gold played good defense and were able to get a couple easy buckets to solidify their win against the Panthers. Free throws were key as time wound down and the Panthers were forced to foul. After some back-and-forth free throw shooting, Cal Lutheran walked away with a well-deserved six-point victory. 

Defeating the Chapman Panthers for the second time this season, the Regals take some confidence with them leading into the end of conference play. Cal Lutheran will look to continue their win streak on the road at Occidental on Feb. 8, at 4 p.m.

Box Score: CLU 72, CU 66
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Release by Mara Powner, Sports Information Assistant