LA VERNE, CA — The University of La Verne women's basketball team rallied from an early deficit to beat the College of Idaho Yotes 80-76 in their home opener Friday night.
Clarissa Perez led all players with 21 points. Bailey Kurahashi, La Verne's single game made three-pointers record holder, caught fire in the second half, draining five three-pointers to get La Verne back into the game. Angie Steel added 11 points off the bench.
Trailing by seven midway through the third period, Steel came up with a big block inside the key. Steel grabbed the rebound and raced down the court dishing to Jazzlyn Johnson in the corner. Johnson drove, drew in the defenders, and sent an outlet pass to a wide-open Kurahashi who drained the triple to put the score at 47-43.
Kurahashi stayed hot, knocking down her next three shots from beyond the arc, the last tied the game 52-52 with 3:26 left in the third. In the Leopards' next trip down the court, Perez drove down the lane and laid in a shot to put La Verne up 54-53.
Brittany McDaniel came up huge defensively in the fourth quarter for La Verne. The Long Beach City College transfer dominated down low, blocking four shots in the period. Leading 71-67 following a Perez three-pointer, McDaniel and Destinee Garr rejected back-to-back shots to help protect the lead.
The Yotes battled back and cut the deficit to one after a Madison Holly triple and then took a 75-74 advantage with 1:12 to play following an Alyssa Case jumper. But Perez took the game back into her hands. The senior grabbed a rebound, moved down the court, and knocked down a seven-footer to put the Leopards up by one.
Perez extended La Verne's lead on the Leopards' next trip down the court, and Johnson drained a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to seal the win.
Johnson finished with four assists. Monica Garcia Silva, Steel, and McDaniel each grabbed six boards. Garcia Silva added nine points.
Emily Hardwood led the Yotes with 15 points.
The Leopards started slow out of the gate, falling behind 21-5 late in the first before heading to the end of the period down 23-10. La Verne's fast-paced offense started clicking in the second quarter as the Leopards outscored the Yotes in the period 23-19.
The Leopards are back in action tomorrow in a 7 p.m. home match-up against Pacific Union College.Watch Live Follow ULV Athletics on Twitter Like us on Facebook Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram