California Baptist University men’s and women’s basketball teams traveled to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego Jan. 24 for another competitive game that had implications for PacWest standings for both teams.
During the matches against PLNU, both teams were in back-and-forth scoring patterns as each fought to secure a lead.
For the women, it was a game of revenge as the Lancers suffered a 75-67 loss just one week before the rematch. The game had a similar vibe compared to the previous game as they trailed 44-35 in the first half of the rematch.
However, the second half was a different game as the Lancers came out with a determined mindset to receive a different result.
The game ultimately came down to the women regaining control of the game, which turned into a 6-point lead with just over two minutes to go. From there, they did not let up as they were able to lock in de- fensively yielding a final score of 80-70.
The women were led by Courtney Nelson, sophomore undeclared major and guard, and Cassidy Mihalko, sophomore kinesiology major and guard. The two combined for 43 points and both shot above 50 percent from the field.
Jarrod Olson, head coach of the women’s team, said the win was an important one.
“I am so proud of the way we competed,” Olson said. “It was one of our biggest wins of the season.”
For the men’s team, circumstances were different as they came in already beating PLNU 57-55 the previous week, which then set up the nationally televised game.
From the beginning, it was a back-and-forth game until PLNU found themselves with a 12-point lead. However, the Lancers responded as they went on a run late in the first half, resulting in only a 3-point deficit for the men to overcome.
The second half was all about the pace of the game, which was still back-and-forth as the Lancers tried to speed up the tempo.
With Gelaun Wheelwright, junior sociology major and guard, sidelined in the second half because of an ankle injury and Ryan Berg, sophomore business administration major and guard, still slowly returning to the lineup from a toe injury, other players were asked to step up in their roles.
The Lancers were able to put together a stretch that ultimately led them to closeout the game with a score of 69-65.
The Lancers were led by 16 points from Taj Spencer, junior communication studies major and forward, and 17 points from Michael Smith, sophomore undeclared major and guard.
“It is truly an honor to play with such a passionate and hardworking group of guys that fight through all kinds of adversity,” Smith said.