Whittier squeaks by La Verne 63-62

Whittier squeaks by La Verne 63-62

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Basketball team needed all 40 minutes Wednesday night as they held off the University of La Verne 63-62 inside of the Graham Athletic Center.

The Purple & Gold have now swept the Leopards on the season, while improving to 9-10, 6-6 SCIAC, which keeps them in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Post Season contention. 

Whittier had to battle through challenges on the evening, having to face off against a ULV squad who returned their top scorer in Clarissa Perez, while seeing the foul differential go the Leopards way 21-8.  The Poets shot 48.1% from the field and 23.8% from three-point territory.  They were outrebounded 39-28 but won the battle in the paint 30-28, while receiving 23 points from the bench. 

Teani White (Burbank, Calif.) had her best game on the season pouring in a game high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with eight boards, three assists, and two steals.  She was also 4-for-8 from deep.  Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.) joined her in double figures with 10 points and also added five rebounds and three assists.  Laura Stroud (Ann Arbor, MI) who has returned from injury provided an eight point effort with five boards, two assists and three steals and Mia Maglinte (Roseville, Calif.) chipped in with seven points.

The Poets jumped out in front quickly outscoring La Verne 17-11 over the opening ten minutes.  ULV though bounced back with 24 points in the second but still saw themselves trailing 38-35 at intermission.  The Leopards held a slight 15-13 advantage in the third quarter cutting the deficit to one but couldn't make up any ground in the fourth quarter as each team added 12 points. 

La Verne had their opportunities late but couldn't capitalize.  With 5:43 to play, Chasey Santos missed all three free-throws she had after getting fouled taking a triple.  Then with 1:15 to play and trailing by one, Brittany McDaniel went 0-for-2 from the line keeping it a one-point game.  After a missed three-pointer from Cubel with just a few seconds left, ULV had a chance to win the game with time running out.  Perez took it down the court and attempted a drive, she laid a shoulder into White knocking her over, not getting called for a foul, but was stripped by Emily Guerena (Montebello, Calif.) on the takeback, allowing the Poets to come away with the one-point victory.

WC let a late lead slip away seeing ULV go on top 53-51 early in the fourth.  Maglinte made 1-of-2 free-throws to make it a one-point game but again the Leos were able to answer with another layin that stretched it back to three.  On Whittier's next possession, White came up huge knocking down one of her four triples on the evening that tied things up and Cubel followed her getting a defensive board and going coast to coast with a lay-in that put Whittier back on top 57-55 with 6:13 to play.

Perez was able to get to the rack a minute later that tied things up once again but the next time down the floor for the Poets, White again connected from deep, moving the score to 60-57.  Santos countered for the Leos with a three-pointer of her own, corner pocket and then McDaniel put ULV on top 62-60 following a lay-in inside.  White though of course would get the ball once again and would put another triple and again it would fall swinging the momentum back to Whittier as they would hold on for the one-point victory.                      

Whittier travels this Saturday, February 2 to take on Caltech with tip-off set for 2:00pm.