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Leopards stay hot beyond the arc

Pomona-Pitzer freshman guard Caroline Zaia collides with La Verne freshman guard Riki Muraki during the women’s basketball game at Frantz Athletic Court on Saturday. The Leopards mauled the Sagehens 113-61, while sophomore guard Kelly Kika scored a La Verne record of nine 3-pointers, breaking the former record of eight that was held by her assistant coach, Lindsey Shiomi. / photo by Warren Bessant

Shelby Nelson
Staff Writer

On Saturday the University of La Verne women’s basketball team won a clean-sweeping victory over Pomona Pitzer with a final score of 113-61.

“I thought we executed really well and played the game we wanted to play,” head coach Matt Rogers said.

Despite the difficulty of injuries and illnesses throughout the season, the Leopards showed their capabilities Saturday night.

The game began with two teams challenging one another and quite a few unnecessary turnovers, but toward the end it was clear the Leopards were dominating the court.

“Turnovers are part of the game, especially the way we play,” Rogers said. “We probably had fewer turnovers tonight than we’ve had all year. We’re going to have those and we’re okay with that as long as they’re aggressive.”

The Leopards were on fire all night and the crowd was just as energetic.

Aside from the team’s success, it was also a big night for Kelly Kika, sophomore shooting guard, who broke the school record by making a total of nine 3-pointers in a single game.

Kika not only broke the school record but ironically passed up her assistant coach Lindsey Shiomi’s record of eight 3-pointers made.

“Overall, we’re one of the top teams in the 3-point percentage in the nation so we just wanted to raise our 3-point percentage,” Kika said. “Everyone was mainly encouraged to shoot a three tonight.”

“Kelly broke a record on her own and just everybody was hitting shots tonight,” fifth year shooting guard Chantal Crouzet said. “We haven’t had that, where everybody is hitting shots consistently so I’m happy for everybody.”

The game itself proved to be a single come back in spite of the 6-17 overall record.

Saturday’s defeat of Pomona-Pitzer reflected confidence and true teamwork among the Leopards.

“We pulled together as a team,” senior point guard Raphaelle Buenafe said. “We struggled finding out everyone’s strengths and I think we made really good plays as a team.”

“We shot almost 40 percent so I think we did really well tonight,” Kika said. “We just came out with confidence and we knew that our rebounders were going to rebound for us so the shooters just shot with confidence.”

Confidence seemed to be the main theme for the Leopards as they made a tremendous victory over their third to last game of the season.

“Confidence, we’ll take confidence,” Rodgers said. “We showed how we can play on our defense; how we can play on our offense if we’re aggressive so we’re just going to build on this.”

“You can see tonight that people didn’t give up,” Crouzet said. “They were hustling after those balls. Everybody was hitting shots. We had energy and it was just exciting.”

Although Saturday night the Leopards shined as a strong unified team, the season is not over just yet.

The Leopards have a mere two games ahead, first against Whittier and following that will be against Caltech.

Shelby Nelson can be reached at shelby.nelson@laverne.edu.

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