by Greg MacDonald
The opening of a new season for any team brings hopes of putting the pieces together and forming a winning puzzle.
If the first two games for the University of La Verne women’s basketball team is any indication, the Leopards may need to find a few pieces before their puzzle is complete.
ULV traveled to San Antonio, Texas on Nov. 22 and 23 to take part in the Trinity University Tournament, which consisted of four teams (La Verne, Occidental College, Wartburg College and Trinity University).
The Leopards opened the tournament and their season with a match-up against Wartburg College.
Junior forward Jennifer Spring led all scorers with 25 points and also had 11 rebounds, but Wartburg, led by Kayah-Bah Phillmann (16 points) was too much for the Leopards to handle.
La Verne dropped the season opener in the Trinity Tournament to Wartburg College, 77-67.
Sophomore forward Lori Johnson scored 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds and junior point guard Heather Johnson added 11 in the losing effort.
“Heather Johnson is doing a good job,” ULV assistant coach Katie Miner said. “She is a good point guard.”
The following night the Leopards found themselves matched up with Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) foe Occidental.
The Leopards played dismal in the first half, scoring only 19 points and falling behind by 12 points at the break.
But ULV rallied in the second half to outscore the Tigers by 12 in the second half to force overtime.
However, the offense did not carry over from the end of regulation to the overtime period, as Occidental scored a 12-2 advantage to win the game 72-62.
Lori Johnson scored a team-high 19 points for the Leopards. She also pulled down 18 rebounds.
Senior guard Alicia Gibson scored 15 points and Spring scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Tigers.
The dynamic duo for Occidental, Anna Celaya (28 points) and Ilona Haller (32 points and 13 rebounds), help to improve the Tigers to 1-1 in the early season.
“The team played well,” Miner said. “We need some time to get to know each other.”
That time may have come at La Sierra on Tuesday. The Leopards needed only six players to dispose of the La Sierra team, 76-30.
“Our offense looked good,” Miner said.
Miner’s team had only six players for action because of injuries, but she did say that the walking wounded will be back tonight against Pacific Christian at Cal State Fullerton at 7:30 p.m.
“I think it’ll be a good game,” Miner said. “They have a decent team. We just need to get healthy, and we will start to play.”