Regals to Host Occidental

CLU enters SCIAC Post Season Tournament as No. 1 Seed

No. 1 Cal Lutheran will host No. 4 Occidental on Thursday evening at the Gilbert Arena.

Photo: Tracy Maple

PASADENA, Calif. – On Saturday evening the Cal Lutheran women’s basketball team clinched the 2012-13 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title. The Regals earned the No. 1 seed entering the SCIAC Post Season Tournament set to begin on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gilbert Arena. This morning, via a coin flip, the league announced that Occidental would assume the No. 4 spot after tying with La Verne in the season standings.

With nine teams competing in the conference, some teams concluded the regular season on Saturday while others played Monday evening. With both ULV and Occidental earning victories Monday, their season marks were identical. The initial tiebreaker was a head-to-head, which they split, the second was their respective records against the top three teams, which were again equivalent and ultimately it came down to the flip of a coin at the SCIAC office this morning.

Cal Lutheran (21-4, 13-3 SCIAC) will host Occidental (16-9, 11-5) in one of two semifinal Post Season Tournament games. Another tie for second between Chapman (10-5, 12-4) and Redlands (19-6, 12-4) went to the Panthers who swept the season series against the Bulldogs to take the No. 2 seed. This is the first SCIAC Post Season appearance for Chapman since joining the conference.

The two winning teams will meet on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the site of the highest remaining seed for a 5:00 p.m. tip-off.

CLU has defeated Occidental twice this year, 70-68 at home and 53-49 on the road.

Cal Lutheran has looked to senior Starla Wright throughout much of the season as she has averaged 16.7 points per game with 9.8 rebounds per game. Her 54.7 field goal percentage is second to classmate Rachel Heagy who is shooting 57.8 percent from the floor in 2012-13. Senior guard Erica Whitley is also averaging double figures with 10.3 ppg, adding 6.8 rpg for the Regals in her final campaign for the Violet and Gold. Heagy and Channing Fleischmann are averaging 8.9 and 8.8 ppg, respectively and Jazmyne Porter has poured in 7.8 per game for CLU. Point guard, Alex Nelson, has handed out 2.9 assists per game as she has totaled 73.

Defensively, four players are over 100 rebounds with Wright pulling down 215, including 110 offensive. Whitley has stolen the ball from the opposition 76 times and has recorded a team-high 20 blocks as well. Wright has 16 blocks and 26 steals. Also look for Porter to be a defensive nuisance as she has recorded 39 steals in 23 games.

For Occidental, two-time SCIAC Player of the Year, Makenzie Brandon, averages 21.8 points per game with a field goal percentage of 48.1. Elizabeth Messick is also over 10 ppg with 10.3 for the Tigers and is the leading rebounder for Oxy with 10.8 per game. Brandon has pulled down 9.5 rpg, adding a team-high 72 assists and 54 steals. Messick has been a defensive nightmare for her opponents as she has recorded 94 blocks this season. Katelyn Rowe has 53 blocks with 5.5 rpg as well. Liz Little, the Occidental point guard, has tallied 71 assists.

Tickets will be sold at the entrance to the Gilbert Arena. Children under the age of 12, current students, faculty and staff with ID receive free admittance. Admission for all others is $5. Merchandise will also be sold. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

The winner of the SCIAC Post Season Tournament will earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament set to begin March 1.

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