Eagles seek revenge for senior night
Despite a 21 point showing from senior forward Taylor Casey in her final performance in Chase Gymnasium, the Eagles fell to Hope International University on Feb. 27.
Hope hit the Eagles hard out of the gate, scoring seven points before Biola got on the scoreboard. The rest of the quarter was spent as damage control, resulting in a 9-20 deficit by the end of the first.
A SIMILAR PATTERN
The second quarter followed in a similar pattern to the first. An early layup from sophomore Danielle Kennedy was quickly erased by a Hope three-pointer. This exchange continued for the remainder of the quarter, leading to a first half score of 35-21.
Casey led the team in scoring in the first half of her last home game at Biola with 10 points. She also contributed with three rebounds in her 19 minutes played. Other main first half contributors were senior guard Aubree Mittel and Kennedy, who both scored five points.
Biola better contained the Royals in the second half and even outscored them in the third quarter. The closest the Eagles came to tying the game came with 1:15 left in the third when Biola hit back-to-back threes from Casey and freshman forward Sara Dougan to bring them within five. However, the Royals answered with two layups to close out the quarter, bringing the lead back up to nine.
The Eagles matched up well with Hope in the fourth and final quarter, finishing 13-14 Hope. Biola figured out their opponents too late however, as the Royals closed out the game 61-51.
Casey remained as the Eagles leading scorer with 21 points, followed by Kennedy with 10 points and seven rebounds. Mittel also grabbed seven rebounds and scored nine points with four assists.
Perhaps more significant than the loss was an injury suffered by starting junior guard Tina Esbenshade in the first half. Esbenshade did not return for the remainder of the game. Teammates Casey and Mittel are cautiously optimistic that Esbenshade and All-GSAC sophomore guard DeMoria White, who did not play due to injury, will return in time for the first round of the GSAC Tournament.
The key injury returns leave Biola optimistic for their rematch against the Royals in the first round of the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament on March 4.
A CHANCE FOR REVENGE
The Eagles finished their regular season with 14-16 record while being 7-8 in conference. They will get a chance for revenge over the Royals for stealing the show on senior night as they play each other in the first round of the GSAC Tournament. Hope is the host of the tournament and the game will be played on their homecourt.