Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
PASADENA, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Basketball team saw their two-game winning streak come to a close Saturday afternoon as they fell 50-45 to Caltech, their first loss to the Beavers since the 2006-07 season.
Looking to ride momentum following two solid victories over Chapman University and the University of La Verne, the Purple & Gold found it tough to score against the Beavers getting held to their lowest offensive output on the season. Whittier drops now to 9-11, 6-7 SCIAC and are in a tough spot to try and earn a spot in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Post Season Tournament.
The Poets were riding a 23-game winning streak against the Beavers dating back to the 2006-07 season. The game saw five ties and six lead changes, with the largest lead being 10 held by the Beavers early in the third quarter. Whittier shot just 28.1% from the field and 15.8% from three-point territory. They won the battle on the glass 41-33 and won the battle in the paint 20-10.
Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.)led the offense with 14 points and was the lone Poet in double figures. Laura Stroud (Ann Arbor, MI)finished with seven points to go with six boards, an assist and two steals and freshman Shaeleigh Wright (Long Beach, Calif.)tossed in four points with ten boards, an assist and a career high seven steals. Off the bench Zaria Branch (San Diego, Calif.)added six points and seven boards and Monica Hanna (Bellflower, Calif.)added five points in just nine minutes of action. Teani White (Burbank, Calif.)was held to just four points for the game but was able to add five rebounds and three assists.
Whittier was held to just nine points in the first quarter and single digits again in the second as they trailed 24-18 at halftime. Caltech poured it on out of the break extending their lead to ten, but that advantage wouldn't hold as Whittier started clawing their way back. Stroud added back to back buckets, Allison Lou (Cerritos, Calif.)knocked down a triple and Hanna converted two free-throws that kept the game in reach after three quarters of play.
In the fourth, the Poets made a final push putting up 14 points, while grabbing a three-point lead at the 5:19 mark thanks to a Cubel three-pointer. But after that it was all Caltech who put together a 9-2 run that put them on top 45-43 with under a minute to play. Whittier was forced to make one final stop in order to get the ball back but Beaver Nika Haleftiras knocked down a three-pointer that secured the upset victory.
Whittier returns to the court this Wednesday, February 6 as they travel to Claremont-M-S to take on the Athenas beginning at 7:00pm.