ULV falls short in rematch

Sophomore guard Kelli Obrero (#23) contends with the College of Notre Dame player Sharee Robinson (#10) during Saturday night's home game in the Supertents. The College of Notre Dame won, 58-50. / photo by Erica Paal
Sophomore guard Kelli Obrero (#23) contends with the College of Notre Dame player Sharee Robinson (#10) during Saturday night’s home game in the Supertents. The College of Notre Dame won, 58-50. / photo by Erica Paal

by Agke Grow
Staff Writer

Few games have been played, but the University of La Verne women’s basketball team is already seeing the impact of its hard work. The Leopards squared off against the College of Notre Dame Argonauts on Saturday in the Supertents, and although they lost, 58-50, the game served as a good reference point in tracking their progress.

The contest was a rematch of a game played in Belmont two weeks earlier, a game the Leopards lost 67-37. Although the end result was the same in both games, the way La Verne made Notre Dame earn this most recent win shows that the Leopards have improved appreciably in a short amount of time.

“Now we know what we have to do in order to beat a team,” said freshman forward/center Athena Tsapanos. “We came out with intensity, rebounded better, and it works for us.”

The difference between the blowout and close game was better rebounding and defense by La Verne, the two things that acting head coach Katie Miner has been stressing in practice.

“Last time they outrebounded us,” said Miner.

This time around, the Leopards crashed the boards, and pulled down 48 rebounds, including 20 offensive rebounds, compared to Notre Dame’s 35 total. Freshman Jamila Anderson and Tsapanos led the effort with eight rebounds each.

La Verne also cut the Argonaut total offensive output by nine points in the rematch, and ULV scored 13 more than in their previous effort at Belmont.

“We played great defense,” said freshman forward Audrey Butcher. “We came up short in the end, but we are all communicating and working together.”

During Saturday night's game against the College of Notre Dame, La Verne freshman forward Audrey Butcher (#42) fights for possession of the ball with Notre Dame player Meg Hummel (#11). Leopards Senior guard Michelle Ballard (#11) comes to assist. The College of Notre Dame won the rematch between the two teams, 58-50. / photo by Erica Paal
During Saturday night’s game against the College of Notre Dame, La Verne freshman forward Audrey Butcher (#42) fights for possession of the ball with Notre Dame player Meg Hummel (#11). Leopards Senior guard Michelle Ballard (#11) comes to assist. The College of Notre Dame won the rematch between the two teams, 58-50. / photo by Erica Paal

That teamwork helped ULV come back from being down 40-22 early in the second half.

At halftime the score was 22-17 in favor of Notre Dame. A slow start in the second half by ULV and hot shooting by Argonaut Sharee Robinson allowed Notre Dame to pull ahead. However, La Verne was able to buckle down, screen out well on offense, and work the ball inside.

“We were posting up better in the second half,” said Tsapanos. “The post wasn’t getting open during the first half.”

La Verne rallied as freshman guard Jasper Gary nailed three in a row from behind the arc, cutting the lead to 48-40.

The Leopards continued to claw back, and drew several fouls down the stretch. Eight for 12 shooting from the line in the second half enabled ULV to get even closer, and Tsapanos scored from close range to cut the deficit to 54-50 with 39.9 seconds remaining.

Unfortunately for La Verne, Notre Dame made free throws when they mattered, and time ran out on ULV’s comeback.

“We forced a lot of turnovers (21), but we have to convert on those opportunities,” said Miner.

Gary and sophomore guard Kelli Obrero had 11 points each.

Agke Grow, Sports Editor
Agke Grow
Erica Paal

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