Regals, UC Santa Cruz Victorious on Day One of Winter Classic

THOUSAND OAKS, CA -- In the first day of the Posada Royale Winter Classic, UC Santa Cruz used a late first-half run to upset No. 17 Emmanuel (Mass.) while Cal Lutheran overcame Scranton in the final minutes, defeating the Lady Royals 44-42 in the night cap Sunday afternoon in Gilbert Arena on the campus of Cal Lutheran.

Game 1: Trailing 15-14 with 13:42 to play in the first half, UC Santa Cruz went on a 20-7 run over the next eight minutes and wouldn't trail the rest of the game. Sarah Mackey had 12 of her game-high 24 points in the first half while the Banana Slugs defense forced 14 turnovers.

The second half saw a balanced offense attack from the Banana Slugs as Lashay Alexander, Leah Parrish and Taylor Willis would all score over double-figures.

Emmanuel would get as close as five at 48-43 when Jennifer Bujnowski hit a jumper with 11:05 left to play in the second half. UC Santa Cruz responded by hitting four consecutive free-throws on the following two possessions.

Four minutes later, Geena Giovannetti connected on a pair of free-throws as UC Santa Cruz iced the game, enlarging their lead to 13 at 58-45.

UC Santa Cruz would coast the rest of the way, eventually defeating Emmanuel 72-55.

The Slugs were led by Mackey's 24 points. Alexander was second with 11 points while Parrish and Willis each chipped in with 10.

Emmanuel was led by Fiona O'Dwyer's 23 points and eight rebounds. Bujnowski was second on the team with eight points.

With the win, UC Santa Cruz improves to 10-3 overall and will face Cal Lutheran tomorrow, December 31, at 3:00 p.m.

Emmanuel drops to 8-2 overall and will play Scranton tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.

Box Score: UC Santa Cruz 72 Emmanuel 55

Game 2: Despite shooting a season-low 22 percent from the field, Cal Lutheran overcame a 17-point second half deficit and defeated Scranton (Penn.) 44-42 Sunday evening.

Scranton, who led for 38 minutes of the game, extended their lead to 17 after Noelle Alicea hit a three-pointer with 14:45 remaining in the game.

However, Cal Lutheran would put the clamps on any further Lady Royals offense, holding Scranton without a basket for the next 10 minutes and 15 seconds while also trimming the lead to 38-35.

The teams would then exchange baskets before Starla Wright hauled in a defensive rebound and hit a streaking Channing Fleischmann for a fast break lay-up, pulling the Regals even with Scranton at 40 apiece with a little over two minutes left to play.

Erica Whitley would come up big for the Regals, fending off two Lady Royals for a rebound on Scranton's next possession. Whitley was fouled as she collected the rebound and hit one of her two three throws, giving CLU the first lead since the first of the minute game.

Scranton forward Meredith Mesaris would connect on a 12-footer on the following possession as the Lady Royals reclaimed the lead at 42-41.

With 48 seconds left to play, Keeley Anderson had an open look for three along the right sideline before it caromed off the rim. A scrum for the rebound ensued but Wright came up with a crucial offensive rebound and was fouled directly after, putting CLU over the double bonus. Wright would convert both free-throws and give CLU the lead at 43-42.

Scranton would get one last look as Lindsay Fluehr tried to get open for a three but Whitley would come up with the game-winning deflection as time expired before Scranton get off a shot.

Wright had her sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Fleischmann was second with seven points while Natalie Stone and Whitley each had six rebounds.

CLU held Scranton's leading scorer, Mesaris, ten points under her average as she finished with 12 points. Fluehr was second with six points and 12 rebounds.

With the win, Cal Lutheran improves to 9-2 overall while Scranton drops to 9-3. Cal Lutheran is set to host UC Santa Cruz at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow while Scranton will host Emmanuel at 1:00 p.m. in Gilbert Arena.

Box Score: CLU 44 Scranton 42

-Release by Steve Schaffer