Photo by Bob Paz
PASADENA, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2015) – Junior Kate Lewis (San Antonio, Texas / Ronald Reagan) exploded with a season-high 19 points and career-high 19 rebounds for her third double-double of the season in the Caltech women's basketball team's nail-biting defeat to La Sierra University on Sunday afternoon.
The Beavers narrowly outshot the Golden Eagles but generated nine fewer shots and went just 8-for-20 (40 percent) from the free throw line, allowing La Sierra to leave with a 56-51 victory. The Golden Eagles improve to 3-8 on the season while the Beavers fall to 1-5.
La Sierra hit the first bucket of the day but Caltech scored eight unanswered points to take the lead thanks to senior Stephanie Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula), who rediscovered the long-range form that saw her open the season as the nation's three-point leader. Junior Michelle Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) joined the fun with a trey of her own to maintain the six-point lead before La Sierra leveled the game at 11-11. The Beavers locked down on defense to force three turnovers in the final two minutes while netting five more points to hold a 16-11 lead after the first quarter.
Caltech went the first four minutes of the second quarter without a basket but held La Sierra to nine points to remain within one possession when Stephanie Wong drilled another three-pointer to tie it up at 20-20. Freshman Nika Haleftiras (San Diego, Calif. / Our Lady of Peace) hit a key jumper to cancel out a La Sierra score and give Lewis the chance to take over. The junior forward converted a three-point play after grabbing an offensive rebound and added a layup on the next possession to stake the Beavers to a five-point lead with 3:40 left in the half. A late layup and pair of free throws allowed the Golden Eagles to tie the game at 29-29 heading into the break, however.
La Sierra immediately took the lead to start the third quarter and posted a 6-2 run over the first four minutes, but Caltech responded with resounding defensive effort to hold the Golden Eagles scoreless over the next five minutes. Meanwhile, freshman Elizabeth Eiden (White Plains, N.Y. / Holy Child) hit a second-chance layup, followed by Wong's fourth three-pointer and another three-point play from Lewis to take a four-point lead at 39-35. The margin held through the final break as the teams traded baskets for a 41-37 Caltech lead heading to the fourth quarter.
After the visitors had hit just one of 18 three-point attempts over the first three quarters, La Sierra nailed two in the first two-and-a-half minutes and would sink a third in five attempts three minutes later to take the 50-47 lead at 4:57. The Golden Eagles added a jumper to go ahead by five with 3:03 remaining before Lewis dished to freshman Madeline Schemel (Westport, Conn. / Staples) to pull back within one basket just under the two-minute mark. A missed jumper and turnover on the ensuing two possessions forced Caltech to resort to sending La Sierra to the free throw line. The brief glimmer of hope that came with Wong hitting a free throw to make it 54-51 with 12 seconds remaining was doused by La Sierra sinking both chances at the other end to seal the win.
In addition to her 19-19 double-double, Lewis filled out the box score with four blocks, four steals and two assists. Stephanie Wong totaled 13 points, including going 4-for-9 from beyond the arc, while Michelle dished out four assists. Schemel added eight points and two blocks, with Eiden grabbing eight boards.
Head Coach Sandra Marbut and the Beavers will take a brief break for the holidays ahead of a trip to Minnesota, where they will face Crown College (0-9) and Crossroads College (0-8) on Dec. 29 and 30.