LA VERNE, CA – Caltech fell just short of their upset attempt against La Verne on Saturday evening as they fell 70-67.
La Verne, who came into the game with an unblemished 2-0 mark in conference games, had to fight tooth and nail to stay undefeated. Neither team ever held a lead in double figures as the lead changed hands on six occasions and was tied four times.
While Caltech never took the lead in the first half they kept the Leopards within arms reach throughout. La Verne took their biggest lead of the half at 34-27 on a Teresa Fatai lay-up with 2:24 left until halftime. Caltech scored the final three points of the frame as they found themselves down 34-30 at intermission.
Lauren Foster gave the Leopards the biggest lead of the game when she nailed a jumper with 18:35 left to put the home team in front 40-31. Caltech got back into the game via a 13-7 scoring spurt capped off by a Kristen Anderson jump shot with 11:41 remaining to make the score 47-44.
La Verne tried to shake off a pesky Beavers effort by scoring seven straight points but Caltech filled the final minutes with high tension. Down 52-44, the Beavers held the home team to just three field goals over a nine-plus minute stretch as they took a 63-60 lead with 3:17 left in the game.
The Leopards re-took the lead with four straight points. On the Beavers next possession, an Anderson lay-up with 1:15 gave Caltech the lead at 65-64. Nine seconds later Foster put La Verne back in front with a jumper. Stephanie Wong was fouled on the ensuing Caltech possession. The sophomore went to the line with 49 seconds remaining and nailed both shots from the foul line to put the Beavers up 67-66.
An Emily Myers lay-up with 40 seconds remaining gave La Verne the lead for good but not without a fight from the Beavers. Esther Du missed a jump shot with 23 ticks remaining which forced Caltech to foul. After Riki Murakami made two shots from the charity stripe to up La Verne's lead to 70-67, Caltech had one final possession.
Caltech worked the ball around to Stephanie Wong for three-pointer with nine seconds left but her attempt was off. However, Anderson grabbed the offensive rebound and Du got off a final shot behind the arc but it didn't find the bottom of the net.
Four different players scored in double figures for the Beavers during their gutsy effort. Grace Leishman scored a team best 12 points while grabbing 10 rebounds as she tallied her second double-double of the year. Stephanie Wong scored 11 points while Bridget Connor and Michelle Wong each chipped in 10-point efforts. Anderson fell one-point short of a double-double with an 11-rebound, nine-point evening.
Foster scored a game high 28 points on the strength of a 13-for-26 shooting night while grabbing 11 rebounds. It was her fourth double-double of the season.