SANTA CRUZ- The University of La Verne women's basketball squad split a pair of games at the Hampton Inn Classic III Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Leopards topped Willamette (Ore.) 71-67 in the first day of play before dropping a 68-55 decision to UC Santa Cruz.
The Leos (6-3) jumped out to a big lead over the Bearcats (1-7), starting the game on a 13-2 run before pulling to a 40-28 advantage at halftime. Willamette fought back in the second half, taking a 45-44 lead with 12:21 remaining before La Verne slammed the door in the final minutes.
Senior guard/forward Lindsey Foster led the scoring effort with 17 points and recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds. Sophomore center Emily Myers added 15 points and junior point guard Riki Murakami contributed five assists. The Leopards were held to 31.5 percent (23-73) shooting, but outrebounded the Bearcats 51-to-47 and won the turnover battle 9-to-15.
The Leos faced UC Santa Cruz (8-4) on Wednesday, but took a 68-55 loss after a tie game at the midway point.
La Verne took the lead briefly early in the second half, but were unable to stop a 40-point downpour from the Banana Slugs to seal the match
Myers poured in 14 points and grabbed eight boards, while Foster chipped in 12 and eight, respectively. Junior point guard Tiffany Hicks provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and four assists. The Leos shot 35.1 percent (20-57) from the field and grabbed 41 boards to 38 for Santa Cruz, but committed 22 turnovers.
The Leopards are scheduled for a home matchup with Wartburg (Iowa) Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Franz Athletic Court.