Fullerton, Calif. - After finding themselves down by as many as 20 points, the women's basketball team fought their way back to within one shot of tying the game in the final minute, but just ran out of the time, eventually falling by a final of 65-60 to Hope International University.
At the 14:23 mark of the first half, the Royals used a 14-2 run over the next four minutes to jump out to a to an early 24-11 lead. By the 4:27 mark Hope International extended their lead to 34-14, their biggest lead of the game. The Golden Eagles were able to regroup in time to finish the first half on a 9-2 run and cut the Royals lead to 36-23 by the end of the first half.
In the first four minutes of the second half, the Royals push their lead back up to 18 points. After a lay-up by Natalia Hawthorne cut the lead to 10 points with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Royals answered back with five straight points to push the lead back up to 54-39. But the Golden Eagles would not back down.
With just over eight minutes to play the Golden Eagles made their final push, chipping away at the Royals lead. With 50 seconds left on the game clock, Hawthorne converted two free throws to cut the lead to 61-58. Andrina Rendon answered with two free throws of her own, to push the lead back up to five. On the subsequent possession, Joirdan Jones knocked down a shot with 19 seconds remaining, but that would be as close as the Golden Eagles would get. Rendon knocked down two more free throws to secure the 65-60 win.
Despite outscoring the Royals 19-9 in the final eight minutes of the game, the Golden Eagles drop to 1-3 on the season.
Hawthorne led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 24 points. Jones added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Brittani Walker pitched in with 11 points and six rebounds.
Leilani Tuani-Fifita led the team with 11 rebounds to go along with six points. Kristin Brummett tallied nine rebounds, four points and two steals.
The women's basketball team will have a quick turnaround as they will return to their home floor to face Concordia University, tomorrow night, at 5:30pm.