PASADENA (Dec. 15, 2017) – Sophomore guard Grace Peng (San Ramon, Calif. / California) connected on five three-pointers as the Caltech women's basketball team nearly overcame Whittier College on Friday evening. Peng finished the game with 18 points to lead all scorers and took advantage of 16 Whittier missed three's to come down with nine rebounds.
Fellow sophomore Samantha D'Costa's (San Jose, Calif. / St. Francis) court vision ended up being the catalyst for Peng's offensive outburst. D'Costa led the team with 10 rebounds but dished on four of Peng's successful three's and ended the game with seven assists. Her ability to drive and command attention from the defense before kicking it out afforded Peng and the rest of Caltech's shooters several open looks. All of Peng's field goals, with the exception of one came from beyond the arc.
Junior guard Nika Haleftiras (San Diego, Calif. / Our Lady of Peace) also had a standout night, knocking down two three-pointers and scoring 14 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Junior center Elizabeth Eiden (White Plains, N.Y. / Holy Child) also benefitted from D'Costa's passing ability, capitalzing on short-range opportunities and finishing the game with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Freshman forward Lauren Suezaki (San Ramon, Calif. / California) had a banner day on the glass, coming down with seven rebounds. Moreover, the entire Caltech women's team had a banner day on the glass, as Friday marked the first time this season the Beavers outrebounded a SCIAC opponent, and did so by 12 boards.
The Beavers came into the game determined to hold the Poets in all four quarters and eventually wear them down. By the time the fourth quarter hit, Caltech's speed and physicality began to pay off as they went on a 9-2 scoring run in the game's second-to-last minute to bring the itself within one basket of tying Whittier. D'Costa came down with a key defensive rebound with just over 30 seconds to go to set up an open Peng three-point look to win the game. While the shot did not fall, the Beavers succeeded in successfully creating the opportunity, thus putting themselves in a position to win against a solid Whittier program (2-3 SCIAC). The game marked the first time Caltech oustscored its opponent by more than three points in the fourth quarter of a loss and while the Beavers have developed a reputation as fast starters, they showcased their tenacity and overcame rough shooting in the second quarter before eventually changing gears in the final quarter of play.
Head Coach Bridgette Reyes and the Beavers will host Ottawa University on Wednesday, Dec. 20.