PASADENA (Jan. 13, 2018) – Sophomore guard Samantha D'Costa (San Jose, Calif. / St. Francis) added another chapter to her recent stretch of strong performances and helped the Caltech women's basketball take down the University of La Verne, 82-68, on Saturday evening. The win marks the first time the Beavers have beaten the Leopards since Feb. 18, 2015.
D'Costa's pace went unmatched by the opposition, and ultimately proved to make the greatest difference against the offensive-minded Leopards. She concluded the game with 26 points, 10 of which came from the free throw line and 18 rebounds to go along with all eight of the Beavers' steals. She distributed her points fairly evenly across all four quarters, providing her team with a consistent, yet aggressive presence all throughout the game.
"I think Sam does a great job attacking," Head Coach Bridgette Reyes said. "It's almost to the point where we need to tell her when a good time to attack is and when is not because she is always in attack mode. I love that about her. It's what makes her successful and it's what makes our team successful. She did an amazing job on the rebounds and that's someone who pursues the basketball and someone who wants to win."
In addition to D'Costa, three other Beavers found themselves in double-figures. Junior guard Nika Haleftiras (San Diego, Calif. / Our Lady of Peace) finished the game with 15 points and saw some chances from beyond the arc pay off for her. Three of her six field goals came off three-pointers. Another junior, center Elizabeth Eiden (White Plains, N.Y. / Holy Child) used her size to dump in 20 points of her own and had open looks beneath the basket for the game's entirety. She also pulled down eight rebounds and got three blocks, two of which came in the first quarter. Sophomore guard Grace Peng (San Ramon, Calif. / California) added 12 points in limited action.
"It feels great to win a game like this," Reyes said. "Our kids dealt with the pressure so well. Even when we turned the ball over a few times we were able to get it back, compose ourselves and make good decisions down the stretch. I am super proud of their execution. They could have easily let the pressure get to them and folded, but they didn't. Instead, they got tough, played together and that's what translated into the victory."
La Verne jumped on the Beavers from the onset, taking a 26-10 lead into the second quarter. Caltech began to find its formand slowly earned its way back into the game. The game's turning point may have come on a three-pointer from freshman guard Amy Wang (Colorado Springs, Col. / Pine Creek) late in the second quarter. Wang, who has slowly seen her minutes start to climb in 2018, got an opportunity and turned an open dish from Haleftiras into a three key points for her team. From that moment on, the hosts outscored the visitors, 47-30, the rest of the way, while nearly doubling up on the Leopards' shooting percentage (46.3%-25.8%).
"Amy wants to get better," Reyes said. "She continually asks to be challenged more in practice. To put her on the court, rely on her and set her up to make a huge play like that speaks volumes of her intent and work ethic and the value that she brings to our team. I also think it ignited our bench. It was a huge feeling for our team."
Reyes and the Beavers will look to keep the ball rolling when they travel to California Lutheran University for a 7 p.m. showdown this Wednesday.