California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Regals fall in SCIAC Title game

    For the second consecutive year, the Regals basketball team advanced to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game and fell to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags.

    “Our goal was to play well and win the tournament,” junior guard Sofia Cruz said. “We did not meet our end goal, however, our effort should not go unnoticed.”

    The SCIAC tournament began with a win against Chapman University on Feb. 25. The previous two matchups between these teams ended in last minute shots, and the Panthers walked away with both of those wins.

    “We put those first two games behind us and knew that the tournament was a fresh start,” junior guard Jessica Salottolo said. “We knew exactly what we needed to do and we did it.”

    The Panthers held the lead in the first quarter and they had an early run in the second quarter to take a 28-18 lead going into halftime. However, the Regals came out ready to fight with Cruz and Salottolo leading the charge.

    “My mindset entering the second half was to step up and knock down shots,” Salottolo said.

    And that is exactly what she did. Salottolo led the Regals with 19 points, with 11 coming in the final quarter.

    The momentum shifted with a three-point play from senior forward Chelsea Jacoby and with a two point lead entering the final quarter. The Regals never let up. With just under four minutes left to play, the score was tied at 51. Salottolo hit a three-pointer and followed it up with a jumper to give her team the lead.

    It was all up to free throws after that and the Regals hit 13 down the stretch. They left Hutton Center walking away with a 72-56 victory.

    “The great thing about our team is anyone can step up on any given night,” Head Coach Lindsay Goldblatt said.

    Goldblatt’s players proved her right, as Salottolo, Cruz, Tatiana Dunlap and Haley Hodgson all reached double figures in scoring. Jacoby and Cruz contributed with a combined 15 rebounds as well.

    The Regals then prepared for the SCIAC Championship on Feb. 27 facing the top-ranked Athenas.

    “Anything can happen in the playoffs, every team has a clean slate,” Goldblatt said. “It doesn’t matter who’s been the better team, it only matters who plays well that night.”

    This was the mindset entering the tournament and the Regals hoped to take the message to heart against the Athenas.

    Cal Lutheran and CMS went shot-for-shot after the opening tip. Jacoby was on fire, hitting her first three shots and she managed to get seven of the 13 first quarter points.

    Sophomore guard Kiana Gray hit a pair of free throws, but those were the final points scored for the Regals with about five minutes remaining in the half.

    The Athenas took advantage of the missed shots and they made 16-0 run at the end of the first half. Entering the second half in a 42-25 hole, Cal Lutheran tried to piece it back together, but CMS could not miss a shot.

    Jacoby was the leading scorer with 14 points and Salottolo was right behind with nine. Hodgson had a team-high eight rebounds.

    After the loss, the Regals are  looking forward to next season. With the departure of just one senior, the team already has high expectations.

    “We are returning four out of our five starters and many other key contributors,” Cruz said. “With a senior class of eight next year, we are looking to bring home a SCIAC title and earn an appearance in the NCAA tournament.”

    The Regals have a lot to celebrate on this season, but their lone senior will be missed.

    “Chelsea was a huge part of our team,” junior post Taylor Messick said. “She was a captain and it will be tough not to have her.”

    According to the CLU Sports website, in just three seasons, Jacoby hit the 1,000 points mark, is third all-time in free-throws made (272), 10th in rebounds (526), fourth in blocks (80) and ninth in steals (171).

    “It’s a huge accomplishment for [Jacoby] to achieve, especially in only three years,” Goldblatt said. “I’m very proud of her. She’s done great things for our women’s basketball program.”

    Makenna Pellerin
    Staff Writer
    Published March 2nd, 2016