Sagehens Shot Down by Whittier

Pomona-Pitzer guard Keilani Ikehara PO ‘19 dribbles cross court in their game against Whittier. (Meghan Joyce • The Student Life)

Sometimes hard work does not quite pay off. The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (1-20, 1-12 SCIAC) women’s basketball team learned that the hard way as they battled against the Whittier College Poets (7-15, 1-12 SCIAC) and lost 73-49 on Saturday, Feb. 11. The Sagehens showed both improvement and flashes of consistency throughout the game, but in the end their efforts were not enough.

In the first quarter, the Poets started strong and had an early lead of 14-4. Alaina Woo PO ’17 led the Sagehens in scoring and scored four points later in the quarter to stifle the Poets’ run and bring the score to 17-10.

The second quarter was a defensive battle. Neither team had great offensive success, but the Poets’ strong defense forced seven Sagehen turnovers in the second quarter and allowed the Poets to extend their lead to 38-17 at the half. The Sagehens’ field goal percentage was only 18.2 percent, which, combined with their turnovers, did not set them up for success.

Naomi Baer PO ’19 said that “we worked hard for 40 minutes but just couldn't focus the energy in a productive direction.”

The third quarter was where the Sagehens shone. They outscored the Poets 20-18, made 43.8 percent of their shots, outrebounded the Poets 11-5, and cut down the lead to 19 points heading into the fourth quarter. Anita Romero PZ ’19 had five points and Keilani Ikehara PZ ’19 added three rebounds off the bench.

“We work really hard in practice and definitely could have come out stronger against Whittier,” Woo said. “Our goal has just been to improve game to game, and moving forward we are hoping to continue to do that.”

This year, the Sagehens are in a rebuilding year because new coach Jill Pace is trying to find a rhythm and a few players decided not to return. However, Woo said that the team culture has been strong this year.

"Our coaches push us in practice, and we really support each other on and off the court. Being a part of that as a senior has been really special," she said.

Even though the Sagehens had a strong showing in the third quarter, the Poets’ lead was already too far ahead for them to catch up. Woo had 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the Poets shot 61.5 percent from the field and outscored them 17-12.

The Sagehens faced the Occidental College Tigers on the road on Wednesday, Feb. 15, and lost 67-56. They next play at California Institute of Technology on Saturday, Feb. 18.