They were faster, stronger, deeper, more aggressive and more talented than their opponents. They were up by as many as 53 points late in the fourth quarter, and they could have easily scored in triple figures.
Yes, it was a great afternoon to be a Leopard, Nov. 21, as the women’s basketball team opened its regular season with a dominant performance against Pacific Union, winning, 92-44, at Frantz Court.
The Leopards continued their momentum into last weekend’s Posada Royale Thanksgiving Classic, beating Northland, 71-55, and Chapman, 62-60.
With the win, La Verne remains undefeated at 3-0.
“I think it’s just a credit to their preparation for this upcoming season and the off-season,” head coach Julie Kline said. “It’s a credit to their hard work and their determination to get better, to be better and compete at the highest level.”
From the opening tip, the Leopards outplayed Pacific Union with menacing defense and aggressive offense that allowed La Verne to push the ball up the court and take any shot it wanted. ULV held PU to an ice cold 32 percent shooting from the field in the first half as it jumped to a 15-0 lead. La Verne continued its stingy defense throughout the game, getting eight steals and forcing 28 turnovers.
The Leopards were hot in the first half and maintained a high shooting percentage by running on offense and attacking the basket. La Verne shot 17 times from the free throw line in the first half, converting on nine of its attempts.
Sophomore guard Ashley Paul shot well from beyond the arc as she led the Leopards with four three-pointers. Paul would finish the game with 18 points and three assists.
“I just kept shooting,” Paul said. “Once I miss, I just keep shooting and, hopefully, they fall. I think everyone contributed really well; Clarissa did really well for her first game.”
Offensively, La Verne was successful in getting the whole team involved as four of its five starters scored more than 10 points. Junior forward Emily Carrillo added 19 points and two steals in the blowout.
A pleasant surprise for the Leopards was the outstanding play of their freshman forward Clarissa Holz who finished the game with 23 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
“I think the conditioning, compared to how it was in high school, and being in better shape helped a lot, and because of that I was able to keep scoring in the second half,” Holz said.
“It wasn’t hard to adjust, but the game was faster. I thought we did really well. We were able to hold them back in the beginning of course, and they scored a lot, but as a team I’m really excited for the season because we’re really good.”
Along with Holz, senior forward Trenecca Jones registered her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Jones also added three blocks for the Leopards.
“It was really good because coming into this game we didn’t really know where we were standing, so winning our first game was really good,” Paul said.
“It was everybody’s first game so there were times where it was chaotic, but we could improve on that and, of course, running our offense,” Holz said. “We’ve been working on running a lot. She (Coach Kline) wants us to be a running team so we’ve been working on it so it was good.”
Last weekend, La Verne went 2-0 in the Posada Royale Thanksgiving Classic, beating Northland, 71-55, and Chapman, 62-60.
Chapman entered the game against La Verne with an 11-game winning streak in the series.
The Leopards play again tomorrow at Frantz Court against Menlo at 5 p.m.
Richard Lugo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.