Hicks, bench spark Women’s Basketball past Whittier

LA VERNE, Calif. — Tiffany Hicks supplied a near triple-double off the bench, Erika Rivera had the best game as a Leopard and the University of La Verne women's basketball team defeated Whittier, 74-62, at Frantz Court on Saturday afternoon.

La Verne's bench accounted for a whopping 48 points and Hicks led the unit with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Rivera scored a game-high 16 points—also off the bench—and hauled in 10 rebounds for the first double-double of her La Verne career.

The Leopards improve to 5-8 overall and 2-2 in SCIAC play while Whittier drops to 5-6 and 1-2.

Hicks and Rivera carried the load for La Verne in the first half after the Leopards found themselves in an early trouble. The Leopards allowed Whittier to score the game's first nine points, turned the ball over four times on their first eight possessions and to make matters worse, star center Emily Myers sat on the bench for most of the half after picking up two quick fouls.

Hicks then hit a three-pointer, Erika Rivera earned—and made—four free throws after attacking the basket and the Leopards stormed back within 23-22. The Poets extended the lead back to six points with just over a minute to go, but Rivera answered with a three-pointer and a buzzer-beating jump shot go drag La Verne within one going into the break.

It was all La Verne in the second half.

Myers started the half with a vengeance, scoring seven of La Verne's first nine points, and the Leopards used a 16-4 run to grab an 11-point lead that they would not relinquish. Kayla Valentine added six points during the run and Shannon Irwin chipped in with a three-pointer.

Priscilla Rodriguez momentarily stemmed the tide for Whittier with a layup, but the Leopards piled on with wave after wave of small runs and eventually took largest lead of the game, 74-48, with three minutes to go.

The final score is deceiving as the Poets closed game with 14 straight garbage-time points.

Myers finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists after being held to zeroes across the board. Valentine ended with 10 points off the bench.

Irwin added 10 points and six assists for La Verne.

Whittier's Rodriguez came into the game shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc, but the Leopards held her to 0-of-6 on the afternoon. She finished with eight points.

Carly Buechler led Whittier with 10 points.

The Leopards will try to extend their win streak when they host Occidental on Monday, Jan. 12 at Frantz Court. The tipoff is scheduled at 7:30 p.m.

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