Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Holiday Inn La Mirada Purple & Gold Poet Classic ended Saturday with the Whittier College Women's Basketball team falling to No. 9 Illinois Wesleyan 56-48 inside of the Graham Athletic Center.
The Purple & Gold who started off the season hot going 4-1 has now dropped four in a row and five of their last six moving to .500 on the season at 5-5, 2-1 SCIAC. The Titans won their ninth straight game and improve to 11-2, while their Head Coach Mia Smith recorded her 400th career victory.
Whittier gave the Titans all they could handle forcing them to come from behind and put together a big fourth quarter in order to pull off the come from behind victory. The Poets were tough defensively holding Illinois Wesleyan to a season low 35% shooting and a 15% mark from behind the arc.
Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.) led the offense finishing with 10 points. Teani White (Burbank, Calif.) added nine points with four boards and four assists and Mia Maglinte (Roseville, Calif.) chipped in with seven points and a pair of steals. Off the bench Zaria Branch (San Diego, Calif.) and Daisy Cardenas (Santa Clarita, Calif.) each added six points and a combined four rebounds and two steals.
After being held to single digits in the first quarter, Whittier came out strong in the second outscoring the Titans 18-11 to take a 25-23 lead into the break. The third quarter was deadlocked with each team putting up 13 points but in the fourth, the Titans outscored the Purple & Gold 20-10 to pull off the road win.
The early stages of the final period was back and forth until the 5:12 mark when IWU strung together twelve unanswered that gave them a double digit lead 54-44 with 2:25 to play. Stroud and Cubel put up a pair of free throws to stay within striking distance down the stretch but WC couldn't make up any more ground after that as Illinois Wesleyan would steal the win.
For the game Whittier shot a mere 26% from the field and 21% from three-point territory. They were outrebounded 43-34 but forced 21 Titan turnovers and turned them into 18 points. They also shot a season high 92% (11-12) from the charity stripe.
Whittier returns to conference play in 2019 this Saturday, January 5 as they travel to take on Chapman University beginning at 2:00pm.