PASADENA (Dec. 5, 2018) – The Caltech women's basketball team, led by seniors Elizabeth Eiden (White Plains, N.Y. / Holy Child) and Nika Haleftiras (San Diego, Calif. / Our Lady of Peace) took it to the University of St. Katherine on Tuesday night, defeating the Firebirds, 73-51, on home court.
Eiden led the Beavers with 25 points and 15 rebounds to raise her season averages back up to 18.1 ppg and 10.4 rpg. The senior center had a particularly strong first quarter that saw the Firebirds struggle to get out of the box and defend her size, scoring eight points to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks. Eiden closed the game with five blocks, though the highlight reel rejection came from sophomore forward Kali Drango (Lake Oswego, Ore. / Lake Oswego) in the fourth quarter underneath her own basket (Drango also added nine points and nine rebounds in a near double-double). Haleftiras, fresh off her 21-point explosion at Pomona-Pitzer, scored 17 against St. Katherine and also picked up a season-best eight rebounds and four steals while shooting 50-percent from three and converting on 7-of-8 free throw attempts. Like Eiden, eight of her points came in the first quarter.
"I was really proud of our team tonight," Head Coach Bridgette Reyes said. "I thought they shared the ball really well and we met our goal of 10 turnovers or less, which was really important and what we want. I loved the way we shot the ball and I'm proud of our seniors for putting in the work and continuing to push, believe and do what they do."
Caltech stormed out to an early lead and put the pressure on St. Katherine early by draining open looks from deep and shooting 53-percent from the field over the first 10 minutes. Haleftiras contributed two three-pointers throughout the night, as did freshman Elaine Lin (Brea, Calif. / Troy) who scored all six of her points from deep. Senior forward Madeline Schemel (Westport, Conn. / Staples) also used her length as effectively as ever, coming up with three key steals to go with six rebounds, three assists, and eight points. St. Katherine battled back in the second quarter, however, which forced the home team to make adjustments defensively while ultimately keeping the visitors at arms length throughout the night. The turnovers proved to be another key for the Beavers, only committing 10 throughout the night and instead using the time of possession to get the ball to the basket. Caltech had a near 2:1 assist-turnover ratio with 19 team assists.
The Beavers will rematch the Firebirds at home on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.
"We measure success in different ways," Reyes said. "It's not always in the wins and losses column but it is always nice to get a win. It always helps our team's spirits but they have played and competed really hard this year, even though we'd certainly like to have a couple of those losses back."
Reyes and the Beavers (4-3) will hit the road for their next contest when they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound in two weekends from now.