(Thousand Oaks, Ca) So close, yet so far.
Coming off their victory over William Smith to commence the CLU Holiday Classic, the Cal Lutheran Regals lost a heartbreaker to the Whitworth Pirates on Sunday afternoon 70-68.
Sophomore guards Kailee Yan and Jozie Tangeman led the offense with ten points apiece while senior Kayla Watterson contributed ten bards and seven points. Though their rough start, Cal Lutheran went on a 22-9 scoring run in the final ten minutes of the contest, but could not find the buzzer beater magic to close out tournament-play.
The first period proved to be bumpy for the Regals, falling into a quick 8-1 deficit to Pirates within just the first two minutes of the contest. However, Cal Lutheran returned to form and pulled themselves within four points to end the quarter behind big threes from Tangeman and freshman Haley Tyrell.
A nine-point unanswered scoring run to end the first sent the team down 20-16 into the second quarter. However, sophomore Jessi Westering continued to eat at Whitworth’s lead, opening the period with an easy layup off the assist from sophomore Jade Jordan. However, the Pirates responded with back-to-back threes from Talia Brander and Jordan Smith to push away again. Cal Lutheran rebutted and found necessary the defensive stop behind four steals and a big block by freshman post Danielle Roberts to close the remainder of the half, but still trailed 39-32 entering the break.
The third quarter faired much the same as the Regals struggled to find their offensive and defensive groove, allowing the Pirates 22 points while only adding 14 of their own. However, the tide took a complete shift in the final ten minutes of the game.
Down 61-46 entering the fourth quarter, the Regals found the defensive stops they needed while finding all-net shooting-wise. They opened the period with a ten-point unanswered scoring run to bring themselves within a two-possession game with just under five to play.
From there, 80 percent shooting from the free throw line combined with a deep three from four feet behind the arc from junior Natalie Ruhl cut the Regal’s deficit to 70-66. Then, back-to-back made free throws by freshman Mackenzy Iwahashi brought the Regals within just two with a 1:06 left on the clock.
But while the Regals managed to get the defensive stop behind a steal from Iwahashi, the Regals could not get the final shot off they needed and fell by the eventual score of 70-68.
The loss moves Cal Lutheran to 6-6 overall on the season. They now turn their attention back to conference play, taking on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on January 7 at 7 p.m. PST in Claremont, California.
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