SANTEE, Calif. — Walla Walla University junior Carolina Montes buried four 3-pointers, and also converted 12-of-14 free throws, on her way to a game-high 32 points for the Wolves in their 67-58 victory over San Diego Christian in an out-of-conference women's basketball matchup here on Monday.
Its record now 2-5 on the young season, WWU has already matched its win total from last year.
San Diego Christian came in with a 4-0 record.
Montes led the way on 8-of-22 shooting, and teammate Paulina Quintana ended up adding another 10 points, as the Wolves snapped their three-game losing skid with their first win since beating Lewis & Clark, 69-51, in College Place ten days ago.
"Carolina would not let us lose, as she provided great leadership on both sides of the floor," Wolves head coach Paul Starkebaum said. "Her teammates found her consistently on offense and she stepped up to the challenge."
"We played great team defense tonight," Starkebaum added. "Isabella [Robles] and Paulina really stepped up. We knew they had strong guards and had to protect the basket. For the most part, we did that really well."
WWU goes into the holiday break on a high note, bouncing back from a 77-46 loss at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego on Saturday night and finishing off their three-game California road trip with an impressive win here.
The Wolves will resume their season at home on Dec. 6 with their first Cascade Collegiate Conference clash of the season, as they host No. 14 Corban on Windemuth Court. The tipoff is set for 11 a.m.
Montes lit up the scoreboard here, dropping in 22 points in the first half.
A made free-throw at the 6:15 mark in the fourth quarter gave Montes her 750th career point.
Her 32 points beat the previous CCC school-record and career-high she previously set twice last year, and Montes also set a new highs in free throws made (12) and attempted (14).
Meanwhile, teammate Jaliyah Casem quietly stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Casem had been named the CCC Player of the Week for the week for her performance Nov. 16, when she recorded 20 points and six steals in the win over Lewis & Clark.
"Jaliyah was the motor for our team," Starkebaum said. "She put in a great effort on both ends of the court. She made some big shots, but her defense really sparked our teams success."
The three-ball was the difference-maker for the Wolves here, as they knocked in eight compared to three for San Diego Christian.
With the score tied 3-3, Casem hit a 3-pointer that gave the Wolves their second lead of the game, and the lead stuck for the rest of the game despite a second-half comeback attempt from the hometown Hawks.
The Wolves held a slight edge after the first quarter, 17-14.
The second quarter was an absolute beauty by the Wolves, as they parlayed quality defense into 23 second-quarter points.
The Wolves held the Hawks to four made field-goals while Montes scored 15 of her points in the second quarter, knocking down 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
The Wolves went into halftime with a 40-26 lead — their 14-point lead would be the largest of the game.
San Diego Christian did not go down without a fight, though, scoring the third quarter's first six points to cut the Wolves lead to eight and forcing Starkebaum to call a timeout.
The Wolves responded, however, pushing their lead back to double-digits before another Hawks run got it down to five points.
A third-quarter 3-point buzzer-beater by Quintana would give the Wolves a 49-41 lead heading into the final quarter.
Early on in the fourth the Wolves built the lead back up to 14 and maintained a double-digit for most of the quarter, as the Hawks were forced to foul. The Wolves went 5-for-8 from the line to hold on for the victory.