PASADENA, CA – The Whittier women's basketball team posted a thrilling 57-54 overtime victory against Caltech on Saturday evening.
During the contest the lead changed hands 11 times before the Poets pulled out the win in extra time.
The Beavers held the lead throughout most of the first half but never grabbed a lead bigger than seven points. Caltech held the advantage from the tip-off until the Poets took their first lead of the game at 17-16 with 8:57 left in the frame. Two Caltech possessions later they retook the lead on a Stephanie Wong three-pointer.
Caltech continued to hold that edge until Whittier's Danielle Hays hit a short jumper with 2:20 left to give the Poets a 25-23 edge. However, Caltech did just enough over the remainder of the frame to take a 28-27 lead into the locker room.
A back-and-forth second half commenced. Whittier eventually nudged in front at 34-33 less than five minutes in the period. They continued to hold that lead but never grew it larger than four points. With 4:47 left on the clock, the games momentum shifted in the Poets favor when Dannoka Navales-Lughu hit a three-pointer giving the visitors a 46-42 edge.
Whittier got that lead to 47-42 but Caltech mounted a charged and eventually tied the score when Stephanie Wong hit a jumper with 44 seconds left in the game. The shot, which was made as the shot clock expired, tied the score at 47.
Caltech had one last chance but turned the ball over with six seconds left. Whittier's Navales-Lughu had a 23-footer at the buzzer miss to force the extra frame.
The extra session was tied on three occasions before Whittier did just enough to pull out the win. With the score knotted at 54-54 the Poets took the lead for good with a Navales-Lughu free throw with 1:20 left. Caltech's ensuing possession saw Grace Leishman rim-out a jumper with 23 seconds left.
Navales-Lughu put together a pair of foul shots with 15 seconds left to push the visitors lead to three. Ann Chen had a look from behind the arc with a tick left on the clock but it didn't fall as Whittier came away with the victory.
Alex Coon led Whittier with an 18-point performance. The forward also grabbed a team best nine rebounds.