Women’s basketball beats Beavers by one

Jesse Gonzalez

As fall transitions to winter and our eyes go from the turf to the hardwood floor, it can only mean one thing; basketball season is upon us.  Dave Jacobs Court was the place to be December 3, as the Women’s basketball team officially began their SCIAC play beating the visiting Caltech Beavers 51-50.

A low-scoring game was presented to the enthusiastic crowd, as the game remained scoreless throughout the first nine minutes.  Head Coach Roy Dow credited his team’s effort for the win.  “The kids came out with high energy,” Dow said. “I felt the kids stayed resilient and stayed in it, and it got ugly in the end but they showed poise to make sure they won.”  The Poets’ defense came up huge and the team put forth a strong effort to help seal the deal for a win.

 It would take some time for either team to find any sort of rhythm, offensively or defensively.  Costly turnovers and missing open shots would put the Poets off to a slow start in scoring only 9 points in the first quarter.  Caltech could not capitalize on Whittier’s low shooting percentage as they were held to only 11 points.  The Poets did not shoot the ball well early on, but when they needed a big three, the ball found the net. 

The Poets soon got into a rhythm as they ran their offensive effectively through the hot shooting of freshman guard Cali Cubel. Scoring 13 points to end the half, and shooting 2 for 4 from the three-point line, Cubel led the Poet offense in scoring.  The Poets were able to protect the ball; only turning it over twice as they finished the first half leading the Beavers 24-23. During halftime, Coach Dow emphasized to his team the importance of “decision making and letting the possession play out.” 

Entering the second half, both teams increased their intensity. Combining shots from the three-point range as well as field goal range, the Beavers efficiently passed the ball to different players on their team. Because of this, Caltech had seemingly won the third quarter, tying up the game 39-39.

Senior guard Daniza Rodriguez proved to be a difference maker for the team as she sank two three-pointers that would give the Poets a three point lead with the clock ticking down. During the final minute of the game, the Poets were up by a score of 51-48, when Coach Dow called a timeout to make sure his team was all on the same page. Coming out of the timeout, the officials called a technical foul on Whittier, which was for an illegal substitution and giving Caltech possession of the ball and allowing them to shoot two foul shots from the free throw line.  Freshman guard Samantha D’Costa sunk her first shot but missed her last, leaving the Poets with a one-point lead. With 10 seconds left on the game clock, Caltech freshman guard Grace Peng took a shot with time expiring.  Sailing wide of the basket, the buzzer sounded and the Poets were able to escape Saturday’s game with a win. Cubel finished with 21 points while junior point guard Emily Underwood led the team with six assists in the game.

Off to a 1-3 start now in their season and 1-0 in the conference, the Poets hope to keep this winning momentum as they travel to Salem, Oregon to face Willamette University on Friday Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.