by Ramzi Rabadi
In last night’s season finale, the University of La Verne women’s basketball team topped SCIAC leader Pomona-Pitzer, 68-58 at the Supertents.
The Sagehens (19-6, 11-1) came into the game undefeated in conference, but found no give from the Leopards (13-12, 8-4).
“It (the win) is positive in two ways,” said head coach Julie Kline. “One, it ends the season in a positive way, and, two it sets the tone for the following year.”
Senior center Katie Miner and freshman forward Lori Johnson led the Leopards with 19 points each. Miner contributed 11 rebounds.
“It is another goal we’ve accomplished. They were undefeated. We came out and didn’t give up and finished our season strong,” said Miner.
La Verne shot 39.5 percent from the field in the first half and 41 percent for the game.
“I’m really happy with the win, it’s been a great season,” said Miner, following her final game.
The team faced a fierce Occidental team Tuesday at Eagle Rock where the lead went back and forth.
The Leopards prevailed, 67-56, to complete a season sweep of the Tigers (7-17, 4-8).
With 10:35 left in the game, the Leopards were down by two until Miner grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up, to make it 44-44.
Miner is second in SCIAC in rebounding, averaging 10 points per game, behind teammate Johnson, averaging 12 per game.
Johnson provided a key block on defense that started a fast break which ended with a jumper by junior guard Alicia Gibson, giving the Leopards a 50-45 lead of with 8:20 left.
The Tigers came back when sophomore guard Anna Celaya who hit nothing but net on a three-pointer to make the score 53-50, Occidental.
Celaya ended with 17 points, six rebounds and six steals.
“You knew she was going to have a great game,” said Kline.
With 5:39 left, Miner made a quick pass underneath the basket to Johnson who banked it in for the lead, 57-50.
Johnson ended the game with 29 points, 19 rebounds and three steals.
“I boxed out really hard and worked hard for the rebounds,” Johnson said.
The Tigers produced a full court press with 3:30 left, but it did not stop the Leopards from getting the ball to Miner for a turn-around jumper that put them up 61-51. On the next play Miner provided a steal which was passed to Gibson for a lay up and two points.
With 2:45 left, the Tigers cut the lead to seven points after a three-pointer by sophomore guard Bobbie Celaya.
But, the Leopards were able to open the lead back up to 65-56, on a pressure shot by sophomore guard Jennifer Spring with 58 seconds remaining in the game and three seconds on the shot clock.
“I was hoping I made it because they were coming back,” Spring said. She ended with eight points.
The Leopards stepped up their defense by allowing only six points in the last six minutes of the game.
La Verne’s defense forced 25 Tigers turnovers and a 67-56 victory.
“This was good for us, it gives us winning attitude for Thursday,” said Johnson after the game.
Jennifer Parsons contributed to this story.