ORANGE, Calif. – Despite leading for the majority of the game, the Chapman full-court press finally got to Cal Lutheran as the Regals fell to the Panthers in final stages 75-71 Saturday afternoon in Orange, Calif.
Cal Lutheran led 35-27 to start the second half thanks to Starla Wright’s nine first-half points including a perfect 5-5 from the free-throw line. In fact, it looked as though the second half would go much the same as the first one did with Cal Lutheran leading by seven after a jumper by Rachel Heagy made it 63-56 with just over five minutes left to play.
But three of Cal Lutheran’s 19 second half turnovers proved costly down the stretch as Kimi Takaoka and Sandra Gao would score five points off the turnovers and giving Chapman their first lead of the second half at 67-64 with a minute thirty to play.
The Regals would get it back down to within two at 71-69 when Erica Whitley hit a jumper with 30 seconds left but Gao and Emily McCoy would each sink two free-throws and sealed the Regals fate.
Chapman was led by Sandra Gao’s 28 points, including a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line. Takaoka was second on the team with 23 points and McCoy rounded out the leading scorers with 10 points.
Cal Lutheran was led by Wright, who finished with a team-high 20 points to go along with nine rebounds. Rachel Heagy chipped in with 11 points and Natalie Stone had a career-high 11 points.
Whitley was a force on the boards finishing with 14 total rebounds including 11 defensive.
With the win, Chapman improves to 7-1 and 3-1 in the SCIAC while Cal Lutheran drops their first game since November 24th and falls to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the SCIAC as well.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Regals as they return to the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center tomorrow, when they take on Buena Vista University (Iowa) at 6:00 p.m.
Box Score: CU 75 CLU 71