SAN DIMAS, Calif. — The University of La Verne women's basketball team started 2018 in exciting fashion.
Bailey Kurahashi sank a three-pointer with 28 seconds left in overtime to put her squad up one and the Leopards rallied from a 21 point second half deficit to beat the Occidental College Tigers 80-78 Monday night at Mehl Court.
Season Impact: The Leopards improve to 2-1 in SCIAC play, and 3-8 overall. Occidental drops to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in the conference
Kurahashi came in clutch twice for the Leopards late in the game. With the game tied 70-70 and 36 seconds remaining in regulation, Alexa Withers grabbed the ball on the left block and sent an outlet pass to Kurahashi on the wing who drilled a shot to put La Verne up three.
But the Tigers' Tala Ismail responded after a La Verne turnover and drilled a three of her own to send the game to overtime.
Clarissa Perez put La Verne up 30 seconds into overtime knocking down one of her five three-pointers in the game.
Occidental responded with a jumper by Shariah Green and a three by Triana Anderson to go up by two.
With 28 seconds left to play in an almost identical sequence to late in the fourth quarter, Withers grabbed the ball in the low post and dished the ball to Kurahashi who sank her fourth three-pointer of the game to put La Verne up for good.
Perez finished the game with 31 points, with 23 coming in the second half and overtime. The junior also grabbed nine rebounds with six assists and three steals. Perez currently ranks second in the nation with 24.5 points per game.
Kurahashi finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
Freshman Jada Aldana had a huge game off the bench leading all players with 15 rebounds.
Withers totaled nine rebounds with eight points. Kayla Chism finished in double figures, scoring 10 points to go with eight rebounds.
Ismail led Occidental with 22 points.
Next Game: The Leopards return to the Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion on Wednesday when they host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 7 p.m.