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 Clutch Up In Tight Victory Over Poets

In a tightly contested weekday matchup against the Whittier Poets, the California Lutheran University Regals basketball team came up clutch in a 79-73 victory.

The Poets  came into the matchup ranked fifth in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Association with a win over the Regals in the two teams’ previous meeting. The third place Regals were looking to start a new winning streak coming off a tough loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in their last outing.

The first points in the game came from the Poets’ six-foot-two-inch junior forward Monica Hanna on a post-up layup. The Regals then marched down the court and hit back to back three-pointers coming from freshman guard Kailee Yan and junior guard Rylie Wada. The three ball continued to prove effective as freshman guard Jessi Westering helped the Regals take an early lead by hitting two more three-pointers as the quarter came to a close with the Regals leading 16-14.

The second quarter was a back and forth battle with a total of 10 lead changes in the quarter. The Regals had great success at the free-throw line as well as from beyond the arc, but turnovers allowed the Poets to get easy points on transition and allowed it to remain a close game. The quarter ended with a buzzer-beater three pointer from junior guard Danielle Roumbos to make it a 36-32 Cal Lutheran lead going into the half.

The Poets finished the first half shooting 46 percent from the field with 12 of their points coming off turnovers. The Regals shot 44 percent from the field with 21 points coming from three pointers.

The second half proved to be just like the first with both teams battling for the lead. The Poets came out of the locker room hitting their first three shots to take the lead 39-38. But everything the Poets did, the Regals matched. Westering continued to have to have the hot hand for the Regals making a go-ahead layup to mark a career high in scoring. At the end of the quarter, the Regals led by a slim 53-51 lead.

Going into the final quarter of play, turnovers continued to prove costly for the Regals as the Poets, who average 15 turnovers per game, forced a total of 17 turnovers leading to easy baskets. Despite the turnovers, the Regals still seemed in control as Wada converted an “and-one” to cut the Poets lead to just one. With just a minute left in the game, the Regals kicked the ball out to senior guard Kiana Gray who hit a clutch three to give the Regals a 70-68 lead.

“The option was always there for the kickback,” Gray said. “This time I was the open option and got it and knocked it down.”

By playing physical defense, the Regals were able to maintain their lead, forcing missed shots from the Poets and converting their free throws from the line. The game ended with a 79-73 victory for the Regals.

“The key was our shot selection tonight,” said head coach Lindsay Samaniego. “We played within the scheme of our offense and made great reeds on who to pass the ball to and get good looks. Then down the stretch we were able to get stops when we needed to and put pressure on the shooters, not giving up any late threes.”

The freshman guard Jessi Westering also played a huge role offensively, setting her career scoring high at 18 points.

“I planned on doing whatever I needed to do to help our team succeed,” Westering said. “Within the plays that we ran, there was open shots so I took them and they went in.”

The Regals’ next matchup is on the road against the number-one ranked in SCIAC, Chapman University, this Saturday.

Scott Roberts

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