For the third time in four years, the Regals basketball team participated in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
The Regals were able to advance to the championship game where they ultimately fell to regular season conference champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 60-43, ending their season.
In the opening game the Regals hosted the Chapman Panthers, where they prevailed 76-61 at Gilbert Arena.
“We did a lot of preparation in how to guard them [Chapman]. We knew we were going to be able to score, it was whether or not we were going to be able to get stops and rebound the ball,” head coach Lindsay Goldblatt said.
The Regals kept a strong lead throughout the game and made 11 of 22 attempted 3-pointers totaling a 50 percent average.
“We got to this point last year and we want to get a little bit better every year so this was another milestone that we wanted to achieve,” Goldblatt said.
Sophomore guard Jessica Salottolo scored the first two points of the game in a layup assisted by senior guard Natalie Stone.
“We moved the ball really well. We shot 50 percent from the 3-point line which is crazy good. We really shared the ball and we just played as a team,” sophomore forward Haley Hodgson said.
The first of 22 threes from Cal Lutheran came from Stone at 15:05, leaving the Regals with a 13-6 lead, according to clusports.com.
“They play so quick but we just tried to do our best to slow them down. We tried to switch a lot of the screens in order to take away a lot of their mid-range shots which was their strength,” Goldblatt said.
The Regals were up 12 points with their largest lead in the first half of the game due to a 3-point jump shot from sophomore guard Sofia Cruz, assisted by sophomore guard Trianna Owen.
The Panthers followed with a 30 second time-out and bridged some of the gap with a 3-pointer from Jamie Hum-Nishikado in the last two minutes of the half.
The first half of the game ended with another three from Hum-Nishikado, bringing the score to 31-38 with a seven point lead for Cal Lutheran.
Junior guard Chelsea Jacoby, who cumulatively scored 19 points for the Regals, started the second half strong with a 3-point jump shot assisted by sophomore forward Taylor Messick.
“We executed really well. We worked hard together as a team. We prepared for this game for a really long time, and we just did work tonight,” Jacoby said.
The game ended with a free throw in the last 11 seconds from Owen, ending with a 15-point lead for the Regals.
“We were really just playing on defense, and we did a really good job offensively hitting our shots,” Owen said.
However, the Regals could not take their momentum into the championship game. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps held the Regals to just a 29.8 field goal percentage, and outscored them in the paint 18-12.
The Athenas led by as much as 20 points, and no Regals player scored in double figures.
The Regals ended their season 19-8 overall and 13-3 in conference play. According to clusports.com, they will return four starters and will only lose one senior this spring.
Published March 4th, 2015