Lady cagers upend undefeated Regals

Senior center Laura Czingula pins Cal Lutheran's freshman forward Brandie Murrish against the baseline while Cal Lu junior center Missy Rider (#32) battles senior guard Alicia Gibson, (#32) for the pass. La Verne (1-8), beat the SCIAC leading Regals (8-0), in the final minutes of play 70-63. ULV continued its wining ways on Tuesday beating Whittier 59-51. / photo by Ryan Sones
Senior center Laura Czingula pins Cal Lutheran’s freshman forward Brandie Murrish against the baseline while Cal Lu junior center Missy Rider (#32) battles senior guard Alicia Gibson, (#32) for the pass. La Verne (1-8), beat the SCIAC leading Regals (8-0), in the final minutes of play 70-63. ULV continued its wining ways on Tuesday beating Whittier 59-51. / photo by Ryan Sones

by Reginald Miller
Staff Writer

Who says only bad things happen on Friday the 13th?

For the University of La Verne women’s basketball team, this traditional bad-luck day brought a bright spot to their season.

Heading into Friday’s contest, Cal Lutheran harbored an 8-0 conference record, sitting alone atop the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) in first place.

La Verne on the other hand, was a painful 1-7 in conference play and coming off two 20 point losses to Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer. In their prior meeting, Cal Lutheran ran over the Leopards by a 30-plus point margin. Friday night’s contest was another story with the hard fought victory going to the Leopards, 70-63.

From the opening tip, the Leopards came out with great intensity and revenge on their minds as they managed to keep the game close and eventually grasping the victory.

The first half saw the Leopards take an 11-6 lead with 12:15 left. Both teams traded baskets for most of the first half, with La Verne’s biggest lead of the game being 28-20 with 4:30 remaining. Suddenly, Cal Lu began to turn the tables going on a 10-0 run to close out the first half with their first lead of the game, 30-28.

Leading scorers at the half included the Regals’ Nicole Sanchez, who led all scorers with 11 points. La Verne’s junior guard Heather Johnson topped the Leopards stat sheet with nine points on 3-for-3 shooting from behind the 3-point arc.

“The keys to the match-up will be execution and to play hard for 40 minutes,” Heather Johnson said prior to the game. For La Verne, the battle was only half over.

In the second half, La Verne came out again with the same intensity they started with. For at least half of the second half, the game was neck and neck with the score differentiating by no more than three points.

At the 9:20 mark, the Leopards took the lead 49-48 on a basket underneath by sophomore forward Lori Johnson. After that point it seemed as though the Leopards were in contention to pull off the upset.

With under a minute left and still within striking distance, ULV’s Lori Johnson was fouled, ULV leading 64-63. Cal Lu then called a time out in hopes of decreasing Lori Johnson’s chances for making her free throws. She made the first attempt of a one-and-one, missed the second, but a huge offensive rebound by junior forward Jennifer Spring allowed ULV to regain possession. Heather Johnson was fouled and sent to the line where she missed the free throw, but once again the rebound found its way into Spring’s grasp to seal the win.

Tuesday, the Leopards traveled to Whittier to face the Poets. Following the previous win, they looked to improve their record, and when the smoke cleared, it was ULV raising the victory flag 59-51.

A poised La Verne team came out looking to establish control early and did just that with a 32-27 halftime lead. Part of the reason for the half time lead was an effort fueled by the added confidence the team gained from the Cal Lu win. The Leopards dominated the Poets in the second half, outscoring Whittier 27-24 for the final score of 59-51.

The second half score was cushioned by a 4-of-5 shooting from the free throw line as well as 10-of-27 field goal shots falling for the Leopards. Heather Johnson’s 24-point attack led the way for the Leopards.

“We had consistency for a longer period than the game before,” said senior forward Tamara Loyd. “It felt good working as a team.”

They did work as a team, even though the Leopards were out rebounded 50-36.

The win moves the Leopards to 3-7 in SCIAC and 8-14 overall. ULV will host Claremont tonight at 7:30.

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