by J.R. Gonsalves
Assistant Sports Editor
Basketball is a game of heart and hustle. The University of La Verne women’s basketball team lost to the Occidental Tigers, 74-63, Tuesday, but it was not because it did not have heart.
The Leopards went into halftime leading by two points, 35-33 but when the second half started, Occidental had no mercy, as La Verne hit 44 percent of their three point attempts and shot 53 percent from the field.
Head coach Julie Kline and assistant coach Katie Miner had no comment after their team fell to 6-12 on the season and 1-5 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
The game against Occidental started at a feverish pace. The Tigers were out shooting the Leopards, and they jumped out to a five point lead early, but the Leopards made a run.
ULV went into halftime with a lead, but it was due to the Tigers mistakes under the basket. Occidental blew shot after shot at the end of the first half which kept the Leopards in the game.
The Leopards have been plagued by injuries this season. Senior forward Laura Czingula had reconstructive knee surgery during the off-season and has not been 100 percent.
Senior guard Alicia Gibson has had back problems for the majority of the season and sophomore forward Lori Johnson also had back problems throughout the season, and Tuesday night against Occidental, Johnson pulled her hamstring.
The injuries kept the Leopards’ tempo down in the second half.
Johnson, however, was determined to not let her team lose, but Occidental was hitting too many shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Leopards fell behind by 10 points in the second half, but made a run and cut the lead to five points on a three point basket by junior point guard Heather Johnson, but the Tigers were too much, and the Leopards had no answers.
On Tuesday, Jan. 27, the Leopards traveled to Claremont to take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-7, 2-1). After everything was said and done, the Leopards had lost another game 85-57 and with it, more confidence.
The Leopards also played at UC San Diego on Jan. 30 where they lost 82-44. San Diego was too much for the Leopards, as the Tritons dominated every facet of the game out-rebounding the Leopards 51-30 and out shooting them 47 percent to 33 percent.
The Leopards’ next game is tonight at Pomona-Pitzer at 7:30.