In a game that saw Emily Carrillo reach a milestone, the Leopards were not able to hold off Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Saturday at Ducey Gymnasium, falling 71-66.
Despite senior guard Ashley Paul scoring first, and ULV leading at half, 39-37; it was a battle to the finish and not an easy win for Claremont.
“La Verne is one of the most dangerous teams in league,” said Jodie Burton, head coach of Claremont. “I think any game we would play against them would end up within five points either way.”
La Verne’s senior forward Emily Carrillo made her mark by reaching 1,000 career points in the first half, making her the fourth SCIAC women’s basketball player to do so this season. Carrillo joins Paul, who reached the same milestone in January.
Claremont had a size advantage with junior center Jennifer Ringoen’s six-foot frame, who early in the game forced La Verne to sub, changing their defensive strategy from a man to a zone defense.
After an assist by senior forward Nicole Wandler, Paul cut Claremont’s lead with a two-pointer, making the score 25-21.
Claremont then went on a 5-0 run.
La Verne’s sophomore guard Devon Michaels returned to the court and made a three, setting up La Verne for a 19-7 run to end the half.
With Kelly Kika’s two three-pointers, Megan Musashi’s free throw, Amanda Copas and Carrillo’s field goals and the strength on the defensive boards, La Verne closed the half at 39-37.
“Three-pointers by Kika and Devon helped us. We pounded the post. Our intensity was up,” Paul said.
Claremont scored the first two points of the second half to tie the game, putting pressure on the Leopards.
It was close until midway through the half when La Verne turned the ball over, resulting in Claremont taking the advantage and pulling ahead.
Claremont’s junior guard Aria Krumwiede hit a crucial three-pointer as the shot clock expired and Carrillo retaliated with a three-point play after being fouled.
As the shot clock was about to expire for Musashi, she got bailed out with a foul, sending her to the charity stripe where she converted both, making the score 64-60, ending a 6-0 run by Claremont.
Copas immediately scored a driving bank shot, followed by a field goal by Claremont’s Hemmelgarn, and another return by Copas for two, 69-64.
After a foul by Claremont, Copas increased the score to 69-66 and La Verne took the final timeout of the game with nine seconds left. After two free throws, the Athenas sealed the game at 71-66.
“We played hard for 40 minutes, we never gave up, and we worked hard on what we worked on at practice,” Carrillo said.
Musashi hit six out of six free throws. From the field, Carrillo made six out of 13 field goals. Overall, La Verne had 35 rebounds, 22 defensive, and six assists.
“It’s been great for camaraderie of the girls and their effort, I’m proud to be their coach and I hope they are proud to be my players, they bring me a lot of joy,” head coach Matt Rogers said.
La Verne finishes their regular season schedule against Whittier and Redlands.
They are the last two games for the Leopards until the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament begins, Feb. 25.
Senior night is on Feb. 22 beginning at 5:30 p.m. against Redlands.
La Verne will honor five seniors for their dedication and hard work to the basketball program.
Krista Franceschini can be reached at email@example.com.