LA VERNE, Calif. — It took a while, but the University of La Verne women's basketball team finally put together a complete game to beat Pomona-Pitzer, 66-56, for the first SCIAC win of the season on Tuesday night at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.
La Verne moves to 3-12 overall and 1-5 in SCIAC play. Pomona-Pitzer falls to 6-9 and 3-3.
The Leopards, who have been in the thick of things through the first three quarters in most of the SCIAC games so far this season only to falter in the final frame, came through when it mattered.
"We were tired of losing," La Verne head coach Julie Shaw said. "If you just looked at our record, you might have assumed some things about our team. But if you look at the effort we put in every game and how close we've been, you can tell it's a good team."
With the Sagehens breathing down La Verne's neck in the fourth, Noelle Cobb keyed a 10-2 Leopard run with three consecutive made baskets to give the Leopards a 60-50 and La Verne never looked back.
"We settled down in the second half and we've been working on letting the game come to us," Shaw said. "We were patient so we were able to see the shots and see the openings better."
And the Leopards took advantage of those openings as they consistently found easy looks off off-ball movements and ball handlers found the cutters all night to the tune of 19 assists.
The Leopards roared out of the gates, staking out to a 20-6 lead after the first quarter as they attacked the basket relentlessly and worked for easy shots off dribble drives. But La Verne shot an ice-cold 2-for-18 in the second quarter and the Sagehens were right back in it.
Then Bailey Kurahashi took control. The 5-foot freshman went a perfect 4-of-4 in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers and circus shots in the paint, to keep the Leopards afloat and La Verne took a 48-42 into the fourth quarter.
Kurahashi got the first start of her collegiate career tonight after scoring a career-high 18 points against Redlands on Saturday and finished with 12 points and three assists on the night.
"Bailey is very even-keeled, takes coaching extremely well and she wants to learn," Shaw said of her point guard. "She's humble and she wants to play for her teammates. She has a bright future ahead of her."
Cobb finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Emily Myers quietly put up a double-double, scoring 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Basha Brulee-Wills had 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sagehens and Melissa Hooke contributed 14 points.
The Leopards are back in action on Saturday at home against Caltech.