Whittier drops heartbreaker to Occidental
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College women's basketball team for the second time this year lost to the Tigers of Occidental College by four points making it the narrowest margin in a game for the Poets thus far this season.
The Poets drop to 7-16, 4-8 SCIAC, while Occidental moves to 19-3, 10-1 SCIAC seeking yet again another No. 1 seed in the SCIAC post season tournament.
Occidental who is one win away from clinching the No. 1 seed in the SCIAC Post Season Tournament was given all they could handle from Whittier this evening as the statistical categories depicted a close game the entire evening. Both teams shot a little over 40% from the field and the rebounding margin was three in favor of Occidental but as viewers watched the game it was difficult to tell who was going to win.
Whittier got down early 17-11 but tied the game up twice at the 5:49 and 5:14 marks behind back to back jumpers from freshman Dannika Navales-Lugtu who finished with a team high 17 points on on 6-of-12 shooting, while dishing out five assists.
After tying the game up once more at 24-24 with 3:49 remaining in the first half, Whittier's Tanisha White drained a three from straight on that gave the Poets their first lead of the contest and after an Alex Coon jumper, Whittier took a five point lead into the half bringing with them momentum.
Coach Durshslag prides himself on great defense and in the first half the Poets made it difficult for the Tigers to get any good looks at the basket, while limiting second chance opportunities, while at the same time limiting SCIAC leading scorer MacKenize Brandon to four points.
Coming out of the break, Oxy went on a 13-2 run to retain their lead 37-31, but Whittier wouldn't go away as they continued to battle as they got within three. But down the stretch Brandon was too much for the Poets to handle as she totaled 16 points going 6-of-8 from the field.
Whittier made one final push to tie up the game with just under a minute remaining with Monica Salazar dropping three free throws helping Whittier get within six. 15 seconds later White stole an inbounds pass and knocked down a three pointer that got the Poets within four with :17 seconds remaining. After Little missed the front end of a one and one, Oxy grabbed the offensive rebound and ran the clock out preserving yet again another close victory with the Poets.
White finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting going 3-of-6 from behind the three point line, while Coon chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds.
The Poets now set their sights towards next week as they host the Leopards of the University of La Verne on Thursday, February 16 beginning at 7:30pm.