La Verne Wears Down Sagehens In Second Half For 86-76 Win

La Verne Wears Down Sagehens In Second Half For 86-76 Win

Claremont, Calif. - The La Verne Women's Basketball team made 18 three-pointers as it rallied from a 15-point second half deficit to earn an 86-76 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday.

With the win, La Verne improves to 4-13 overall and 2-4 in the SCIAC. Pomona-Pitzer falls to 3-14 overall and 1-5 with the loss.

Amanda Copas, the daughter of Pomona-Pitzer assistant coach Dominick Copas, led the way for La Verne with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Kelly Kika had 19 points off the bench on 6-11 shooting from three-point territory. As a team, the Leopards shot 50 three-pointers, and were 11-26 from beyond the arc in the second half.

The loss spoiled a career-high performance from junior guard Alexis Sones (Los Angeles, Calif.), who had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Ruthie Shapiro (Moraga, Calif. - pictured) also matched her career high in scoring with 13 points, to go along with five assists, while senior forward Asha Gipson (San Diego, Calif.) pulled down 15 rebounds.

The Sagehens led 40-31 at the half, and had the lead up to 15 points on three different occasions in the second half, the last at 58-43 on a Sones three-pointer with 13:35 to play. However, the Leopards, who used 14 players as it pressed and trapped aggressively on defense, then responded with a 14-0 run, including 11 points from Copas, as it started to wear down the Sagehens.  

A Kika three-pointer with 9:09 to play put La Verne in front 60-59, and after an exchange of foul shots leveled the score at 62-62, Kika made back-to-back three-pointers 23 seconds apart to suddenly put La Verne ahead 68-62 with 6:00 to play. Another three-pointer, this time from Riki Murakami, stretched the lead up to 71-62, completing a 28-4 run that turned the game completely around.

The Sagehens did not go down without a fight, as Gipson made a lay-up and Sones had a free throw to draw back within 71-65. Copas answered with her fifth three-pointer of the night to push the lead back to nine, but a Shapiro three-pointer made the score 76-70 with 3:16 left, and Sones missed a three-pointer on the following possession that would have brought Pomona-Pitzer within three.

Sones did convert a lay-up with 1:39 left to pull the Sagehens within 78-74, but Brittni Tapia answered with a three-pointer, her only basket of the game, to stop the comeback and Kika added another trey for good measure on the next possession to get the lead back up to 10 points, and the Leopards were able to hang on from there.

As a team, La Verne had 24 assists and only 12 turnovers as it spread the floor on offensive with its three-point shooting and forced the tempo. Sones finished 9-19 from the floor for her 27 points, but made just one of her final eight shots as she played 38 minutes against the heavy defensive pressure of La Verne.

Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Thursday when it hosts Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a neighborhood rivalry game at Voelkel Gymnasium.