THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rarely do you see perfection in sports but Starla Wright was as close to perfect as you can be Thursday night. The senior from Los Angeles, Calif. sunk all eight of her shots from the field and was 9-10 from the free-throw line as she poured in a game-high 26 points in a 72-52 rout of Whittier.
It marked the sixth time in the last seven games Wright has led the Regals in scoring.
Despite Wright’s numbers, it was hardly a one-person show Thursday night. All 12 players who suited up for CLU saw game action in the twenty-point conference victory and seven different Regals scored at least one basket.
The Regals broke it open midway through the first half whenWright jump-started the offensive attack, scoring seven straight points capped off by a three-pointer that put CLU up 30-16 with 4:59 left to play. Wright would finish the half with 16 points.
Erica Whitley took over from there, first coming up with a one of her five first half steals and was fouled driving to the hoop. She would make her first free-throw and though she would miss the second, the senior stole another Poet pass on the following possession and race down the court as she as connected on a lay-up despite being fouled. Whitley would sink the and-one as the Regals stretched their lead to 34-16.
Two minutes later, Whitley hit a runner that gave CLU their largest of the half at 22 with CLU going up 40-18.
Whittier guard Dannika Navales-Lugt would connect on a three-pointer with three seconds left in the first frame and sent the teams into the locker-room with Cal Lutheran leading by 19.
The Regals kept up the pressure following the halftime break. Rachel Heagy poured in eight of her 14 points in the second half while Sabrina Jimenez chipped in with six. CLU took their largest lead of the game after Wright hit a pair of free-throws and stretched the lead to 29, leaving the score 64-36 with 6:23 left to play.
The Poets would sink three three-pointers in the final minutes to pull them to within 20 but CLU would run out the final seconds off the clock and come out with the victory.
In addition to her 26 points, Wright led Cal Lutheran with 10 rebounds and it marked her fifth double-double of the season.
Whitley was equally impressive as she nearly collected her first career triple-double. The versatile guard scored 12 points, hauled in seven rebounds, and snagged a season-high eight steals. She also led CLU with five assists.
Heagy finished with 14 points, and six rebounds. Jazmyne Porter had five points and Alex Nelson dished out five assists.
The Poets were led by Navales-Lugt who scored 19 points. Amanda Apgar and Brenda Kramer each had eight points.
With the win, Cal Lutheran improves to 12-2 overall and 5-1 in the SCIAC. The win also means that the Regals kept pace with SCIAC leading La Verne, who defeated Redlands 95-90 Thursday evening.
The loss drops Whittier to 4-10 overall and 1-4 in the SCIAC.
The top two teams will collide this Saturday, January 12, when Cal Lutheran hosts La Verne at 5 p.m. in Gilbert Arena.
Box Score: CLU 72 Whittier 52