THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Clarissa Perez scored a career-high 31 points and the University of La Verne women's basketball team rallied to come within four points of Cal Lutheran.
But the Regals pulled away in the final five minutes of the game to hand the Leopards a loss in their SCIAC opener, 95-81.
Perez went 12-23 from the field with five three-pointers to keep the Leopards in the game. The junior also grabbed five boards and dished out three assists to go with two steals and a pair of free throws.
After heading into the half trailing 58-39 La Verne got hot shooting 64.7 percent in the third quarter. With 5:15 left in the frame, Perez sparked a 14-4 run after knocking down a pair of jumpers and a three-pointer to put La Verne within 11. On the Leopards' next possession Alexa Withers cut the deficit to single digits after she drained a three of her own.
The Leopards stayed close with the Regals midway through the fourth quarter, getting to within four points after a jumper by Nyjeeiah Ganan.
But Cal Lutheran pulled away in the final five minutes to pull off the win.
Withers finished with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Kurahahi dealt four assists and scored six points.
Kayla Watterson led Cal Lutheran with 17 points.
Season Impact: The Leopards drop to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the SCIAC. Cal Lutheran improves to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
Next Game: The Leopards play their SCIAC home opener next Wednesday against the Whittier College Poets at 7 p.m.