LA VERNE, Calif. — When La Verne baseball student-athlete, ardent women's basketball supporter and athletics student worker Ashton Edior came to the Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion at 4:30 p.m. after his baseball practice to help out at the men's basketball game, he thought he would be clocking in late.
He wasn't. Instead he was amazed to find the game in third overtime and witnessed the Leopards edge Caltech 100-98 in four overtimes.
With the game tied at 94-94 with 30 seconds left in the final overtime, Karli Kato drove into the paint, hit a tough jumper as she was fouled and converted the free throw to give the Leopards a 97-94 lead.
Nursing a 3-point lead, the Leopards gave up a 3-shot foul to Grace Peng with seven seconds to go, but Peng missed the middle free throw and La Verne held on for the win.
"The only game like I've been involved in was when I stayed up late to watch the Syracuse-Connecticut men's game back in 2009," La Verne coach Julie Shaw said. "But it was a testament to our girls toughness to stay in it for four overtimes."
Both teams missed a couple of chances to end the game early. At the end of the first overtime, La Verne's Brianna Bishop grabbed an offensive rebound and went up for the winner, but the shot just rimmed out. Alexa Withers missed a short jumper as time expired in the second overtime and Caltech's Grace Peng missed one at the end of the third extra period.
Withers showed off a range of post moves throughout the game and held her own inside against a trio of Caltech's 6-footers. She finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
"Alexa really played well down the stretch," Shaw said of the freshman. "She's still learning but she is one of the most coachable players on the team. She pulled off some really good moves towards the end and it was awesome for her to do that."
Kate Lewis kept Caltech in the game as she scored 10 points in overtime. The senior forward played a staggering 59 minutes and finished with 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Samantha D'Costa posted 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Peng added 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The Leopards return to action on Wednesday at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.