by Ken Colby
Streaky shooting from the field, a poor showing on the glass and too many turnovers doomed the University of La Verne women’s basketball team and helped the Sagehens run away with a 73-68 victory Friday at the Rains Center in Pomona.
“You have to play 40 minutes,” head coach Julie Kline said. “Pomona did, and made it tough for us to win. Unforced turnovers and missed block-outs turn into scores real quick. You can give a few of those up and stay in the game, but you can’t do it all game.”
It was only a matter of time until the consequences of the Leopards’ mistakes caught up with them. Missed block-outs began turning into easy put-backs. Sagging too far in on defense opened the door for a plethora of long-range jumpers and lackadaisical passes on offense started sparking Pomona scoring runs.
“We played hard,” Kline said. “We hung in there against a tough team. Obviously, you have to give Pomona credit for imposing their game on us.”
“The game plan consisted of three things: generating steals, getting to the free-throw line and winning the rebounding battle,” Pomona-Pitzer head coach Kathy Connell said.
Though the Sagehens (9-12, 6-4 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) barely won each of those battles tallying nine steals to ULV’s five, and out rebounding the Leopards, 32-27. Thirteen of those rebounds belonged to Pomona’s center Caroline Crocker.
Starting center Sydni Myrick contributed 25 points for the Leopards. Following close behind was starting guard Kourtney Hicks, who entered Saturday averaging 13.6 points, exploded for 18 points. The junior’s hot shooting carried ULV (14-7,6-3 SCIAC) back into the game after being down 18 with nine minutes left in the first half.
ULV managed to trail Pomona by single digits for most of the second half.
“We dug ourselves into a hole we couldn’t dig ourselves out from,” senior guard Denae Howell said.
As a team, the Leopards shot only 45 percent, and went 2 for 20 from three point range.
“Pomona deserved to win this,” Kline said. “They came out and played the whole game.”
The Sagehens pulled down the offensive rebounds and had five players who scored more than nine points in the game, making it that much tougher for the Leopards’ to stay close.
“We made too many mistakes in the first half,” Kline said. “We made some changes and came out strong in the second half.”