LA VERNE, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2018) – Led by two 20-point performances, the Caltech women's basketball team got its third SCIAC win at the University of La Verne on Saturday afternoon. The 97-74 victory completes the season sweep of the Leopards and gives the Beavers three wins on the season, a one-win improvement on the prior season and a new program record.
"It means a lot that we were able to improve the SCIAC win total to three this year," Head Coach Bridgette Reyes said. "Our goal was to to a better job competing in each game and I think overall we did a good job with that this year. It's an amazing feeling and we want to continue to build up for next season and feel good about the direction of our team moving forward."
Thanks to junior center Elizabeth Eiden (White Plains, N.Y. / Holy Child) and sophomore guard Samantha D'Costa (San Jose, Calif. / St. Francis), the Beavers shot 64-percent from the field en route to 97 points and both statistics are team-highs on the season. Eiden went 12-for-16 from the field for 24 points while D'Costa went 12-for-15 and 4-for-4 from the foul line to finish with 28 points. The latter player also grabbed 10 rebounds and earned her first double-double in one month to the day while Eiden came down with seven rebounds.
"We were able to shoot a high percentage by focusing on getting the ball in the paint," Reyes said. "Liz did a great job dominating the paint and being very efficient with her shot selection. I also think Sam made a lot of good decisions on when to kick out and when to take it all the way to the rim. She stayed aggressive all night and had great shot selection, which made us successful as a team."
The game featured a combined 139 shots from both teams and had all the makings of an offensive slugfest. Aside from D'Costa and Eiden's strong games, Caltech needed more contributions in order to come out on top. Sophomore guard Grace Peng (San Ramon, Calif. / California) score 13 points and pull down eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) came off the bench to provide the Beavers with 10 big points. Junior forward Madeline Schemel (Westport, Conn. / Staples) contributed eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting day. Additionally, Caltech assisted on 23 out of 42 made baskets and no Beaver had more than junior guard Nika Haleftiras (San Diego, Calif. / Our Lady of Peace). Acting as more of facilitator than the scorer she has been in recent games, the junior ended the game with six assists.
"Tonight we were extremely patient with the ball, had great ball movement and played together," Reyes said. "Grace worked really hard guarding their best player all game long, all while handling the ball and attacking their pressure on the offensive end. La Verne likes to play really fast and speed teams up, and it's easy to get caught up in that type of pace. Our game plan was to slow down the pace, work the ball around and go from getting a good shot to a great shot. We played as a team tonight and that's what helped us get the 'W.'"
The Beavers trailed just one time within the game's first five minutes but put together four of their strongest quarters of the season to slowly pull away from the Leopards. A pair of Lauren Suezaki (San Ramon, Calif. / California) free throws at 4:45, followed by a Peng layup quelled a three-point Leopards lead and put the Beavers in the driver's seat for good. Caltech led La Verne, 50-40, at halftime, and went on to outscore the home team in all four quarters, marking the first time this has happened in SCIAC play this season.
Reyes and the Beavers will close the 2017-18 season on Monday, Feb. 19 when they host the University of California Santa Cruz at 1 p.m.