WHITTIER, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2015) – Sophomore Kate Lewis (San Antonio, Texas / Ronald Reagan) recorded her fourth double-double of the season as the Caltech women's basketball team went into halftime with a lead but could not quite close it out at SCIAC rival Whittier College on Wednesday night.
The Beavers rallied from an early double-digit deficit to take a one-point lead into halftime and hung within a basket right down to the final minute before succumbing, 62-55, to fall to 0-13 overall and 0-4 in the SCIAC while Whittier evens its record at 5-5 (1-1).
Caltech set a program record for steals (18), outshot its opponent in all three categories (37-34 percent from the field, 14-13 percent beyond the arc, 70-68 percent at the free throw line) and tied its closest rebounding margin of the year (-3), but Whittier generated 13 more shots and won the turnover battle (+3). The 18 steals bested the previous record, set in 2000 against LIFE Bible College, by one.
Sophomore Michelle Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) kicked off the night with a layup on the first possession of the game and a second-chance layup from Lewis made it 4-0 after the first minute. After five straight Whittier points, Wong set up her sister, junior Stephanie Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) for a go-ahead three-pointer, but the Beavers found themselves down 14-7 before long thanks to a near-six-minute scoreless stretch.
The Poets extended the margin to a high of 12 at 24-12 with 9:06 on the clock, but Caltech took control as the half wound down, outscoring Whittier 17-4 behind six straight points from Michelle Wong to take a 29-28 lead into halftime.
Senior Bridget Connor (Albuquerque, N.M. / Albuquerque Acad.) kept the momentum going with the first four points of the second half to put Caltech up by five at 33-28. Whittier pulled back within one, but the Beavers regained the three-point lead on a layup by junior Ann Chen (Thousand Oaks, Calif. / Westlake). That scenario played out twice more before the Poets finally jumped in front, scoring six straight points on consecutive possessions to take the 42-39 lead with 12:11 remaining.
Lewis shouldered the load over the next two minutes, scoring four unanswered points to put Caltech back on top, 43-42, as the Beavers held the Poets scoreless over another three minutes. Whittier briefly took back the lead, but Michelle Wong went coast-to-coast after grabbing a defensive rebound to even the score at 45-45 with 7:21 left to play.
Whittier would finally string together a run, however, scoring seven unanswered points spanning two minutes to surge ahead for good. Caltech pulled back within a basket on two occasions but would come no closer than three points as the hosts held on for the victory.
Lewis led the way with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds to complete the double-double while filling out her line with three steals, two blocks and one assist. Michelle Wong netted 12 points for her first double-figure game of the year, dished out three assists and made three steals, while Connor chipped in with 10 points and Stephanie Wong made a season-high six steals.
Head Coach Sandra Marbut and the Beavers will head out to the University of Redlands (4-8, 1-2) on Saturday, Jan. 10.