On Feb. 1, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s basketball team fell to the California Lutheran University Regals by a score of 76-67 at Cal Lutheran’s Gilbert Center. After Cal Lutheran jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, the Sagehens (7-12, 5-7 SCIAC) put up a fight, but could not recover from the early deficit. This is P-P’s third consecutive loss to a SCIAC rival, after previously losing to University of La Verne and University of Redlands.
In the first few minutes of the game, P-P held Cal Lutheran close, down by a score of 8-4. Then Cal Lutheran’s Chelsea Jacoby scored seven unanswered points to put the Regals up 15-4. After a P-P timeout, the Sagehens seemed to get back into a rhythm as they pulled within six points, making the score 16-10. With another run by Cal Lutheran, the Regals increased their lead to 22-12. The Sagehen offense recovered once again thanks to a clutch three-pointer by Alaina Woo PO ’17 that made the score 23-17; however, the Sagehens would not get any closer than this in the first half and went into half time trailing by a score of 36-25.
The Sagehens came out strong in the second half, scoring the first two baskets to make the score 36-29, but the Regals responded by going on an eight-point run, increasing their lead to 15 points. After Jenn Okonkwo PO ’16 ended the run with a layup and a free throw, Cal Lutheran guard Keeley Anderson made two straight three-pointers to put the Regals up 50-32.
Despite the Cal Lutheran momentum, P-P forwards Basha Brulee-Wills PZ ’17 and Okonkwo kept their team in the game by combining for eight unanswered points: Okonkwo scored four quick points, followed by four free throws from Brulee-Wills. The Sagehens came within 11 points, but were silenced again by another three-point basket from Cal Lutheran’s Anderson, making the score 55-41 with 10 minutes left to play.
P-P guard Kacie Hitomi PZ ’17 scored nine of her 11 points in the second half to help keep the Sagehens close, but the Sagehen defense could not slow down the Regals’ offensive attack. Brulee-Wills scored six straight points for the Sagehens to make the score 68-61, but this was the closest the Hens would get. The Sagehens could not stop Cal Lutheran’s efficient shooting and the game ended in a nine-point loss for P-P.
Okonkwo and Brulee-Wills led the way for P-P, each scoring 14 points. Brulee-Wills had a double-double with 13 rebounds and Okonkwo added nine boards of her own. Hitomi also had a strong offensive performance, scoring 11 points on 5-7 shooting. The Sagehens outscored the Regals 42-40 in the second half, but the initial deficit was too much to overcome.
When asked about her team’s improvements in the game, Okonkwo said, “Our defense improved significantly during the second half. If we play every game with that level of intensity, I believe that we will benefit tremendously. In addition to better defense, our communication on the court improved as well.”
After defeating the Whittier College Poets by a score of 65-45 earlier this season, P-P defeated Whittier again 83-60 on Thursday, Feb. 6. This Saturday, Feb. 8, P-P will take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the Sixth Street Rivalry game at the Rains Center at 7 p.m. In their most recent matchup, CMS beat P-P with a score of 61-50.
“We are extremely determined to redeem ourselves from the last time we played CMS,” Okonkwo said of the rivalry game. “We’ve been preparing all year and we are confident that the hard work we’ve put in will prove worthwhile.”