Leopards Dominate Second Half To Rally Past Sagehens
The University of La Verne rallied from a 15-point second half deficit by outscoring Pomona-Pitzer 43-18 over the final 13 minutes of action to post an 86-76 triumph over the Sagehens in SCIAC action Saturday at Voelkel Gymnasium in Claremont.
Amanda Copas helped spark the win by scoring 11 points during a critical 14-0 run as she finished with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kelly Kika also registered 19 points by connecting on six three-pointers against the Sagehens.
La Verne was aided by the three-pointer, recording 18 treys in shooting 36% beyond the arc against the Hens. Currently the Leopards rank No. 2 nationally in three-point field goal per game at 9.5.
The Leopards (4-13. 2-4 SCIAC) trailed 40-31 at the break and fell further behind in the opening minutes of the second half as a three-point basket by Alexis Sones gave Pomona-Pitzer a 52-37 lead with 14:56 left to play. Sones, who tallied a game-high 27 points on the night, struck again moments later with another triple put the Hens up 58-43 with 13:35 remaining.
From there, the Leos reversed fortunes to dominate the final 13 minutes. After Mia Roseboro hit a free throw, Copas scored 11 of the next 13 points on a layup along with a trio of three-pointers in a span of 2:25. Her third three-pointer during that span culminated a 14-0 run to pull the Leos to within a point at 58-57.
Deadlocked at 62-62, Kika buried a pair of three-pointers to give the Leopards a six-point lead. Riki Murakami added a triple before the Hens closed to within six on an Asha Gipson layup and a Sones free throw. Copas would follow with another three-pointer to push the Leo advantage to 74-65 with 4:11 left in regulation.
Pomona-Pitzer (3-14, 1-5 SCIAC) got to within four points on a Sones layup with 1:39 left, but three-pointers from Brittni Tapia and Kika pushed the Leopard lead to double-digits at 84-74 with under a minute to play as La Verne recorded its second straight conference win.
Sones ended with a 9-19 effort from the field including a 5-9 performance from three-point range. She also finished with 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Gipson grabbed a game-high 15 boards and was one point shy of a double-double with 9 points.
Copas, the daughter of current Pomona-Pitzer assistant coach and La Verne Hall of Fame baseball standout Dominick Copas, went 5-10 in three-point attempts while adding 4 assists and 2 steals. Murakami added 10 points while dishing out a team-high 5 assists.
La Verne continues SCIAC action next Thursday as it hosts Whittier in a 7:30 pm tip-off.