Photo by Bob Paz
ST. BONIFACIUS, Minn. (Dec. 29, 2015) – Freshman Elizabeth Eiden (White Plains, N.Y. / Holy Child) exploded for her first career double-double and senior Stephanie Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) drained another seven three-pointers in a season-high 25-point outburst as the Caltech women's basketball team took a well-contested 77-71 loss at Crown College on Tuesday evening.
Crown held a three-point lead at halftime before the Beavers turned the tables with a dominant 20-12 third quarter, but the hosts would rack up a 29-18 edge in the fourth to claim the victory. Crown is now 1-9 on the season while Caltech dips to 1-6.
The teams traded baskets over the opening three minutes preceding a four-minute scoreless stretch for the Beavers which saw Crown jump ahead, 11-6. Junior Kate Lewis (San Antonio, Texas / Ronald Reagan) scored eight of the Beavers' 15 points in the quarter, pulling Caltech back within one at 11-10. A layup by freshman Nika Haleftiras (San Diego, Calif. / Our Lady of Peace) put Caltech in front and Wong regained the lead with her first trey of the game following a Crown triple, but the hosts hit another three at the buzzer to take a 17-15 lead into the first break.
Junior Michelle Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) immediately regained the edge with a dagger three-pointer, but Crown sank its fourth straight trey and added a jumper to move back ahead, 22-18. The foes continued to trade off the lead as the Wong sisters combined for another three triples and Eiden added a pair of jumpers, but a 10-point flurry over the last three minutes of the quarter gave Crown the three-point margin at halftime.
Lewis opened the third quarter with a layup to make it a one-point game, but Crown extended the lead to six at 42-36 with 7:11 on the clock before Caltech really got going. Over the next four minutes, the Beavers amassed an incredible 17 points to a mere two for Crown to surge ahead by nine, 53-44. After Eiden had netted five straight points for Caltech to pull within two and the teams traded baskets at 44-42, the rookie leveled the game with a layup on the first of three consecutive assists by Michelle Wong, the latter two precipitating back-to-back three-pointers by Stephanie, who would drill her next attempt as well. Crown managed to claw back four points at the end of the quarter, but Caltech still led by five going into the final 10 minutes.
The Beavers maintained the lead almost right to the end, with Crown quickly making it a one-possession game but unable to get over the hump until tying the game at 67-67 with 2:02 remaining. The hosts would attempt an absurd 20 free throws in the final 6:22 of the game, hitting 15 to help take a seven-point lead with just 11 seconds remaining. Stephanie Wong did all she could to keep Caltech in it, knocking down a pair of free throws before drawing a foul on a three-point attempt and hitting both two somehow claw back within three at 74-71, but Crown iced the game going 3-for-4 from the line.
Stephanie Wong posted her third 20-point effort of the season and first in five games since opening the season with back-to-back 24-point performances. Her seven made three-pointers came on 15 attempts, including four desperation misses in the final 47 seconds of the game, and tied her own single-game program record, which she has accomplished three times in her career.
Eiden posted career highs in points (17), rebounds (10) and assists (four) while shooting a season-best 62 percent from the field and adding two blocks and a steal. Lewis tallied 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with a season-high five assists, three boards, two steals and a block while Haleftiras and Michelle Wong combined for 14 points, six assists and five steals in the backcourt.
Head Coach Sandra Marbut and the Beavers will face Crossroads College (0-8) in St. Bonifacius on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time.