Athenas display ‘Big Team Energy’ in dominant win over Panthers

A woman runs with a basketball. Behind her sit two male commentators and a coach writing on a piece of paper
Maezelle Millan CM ’21 dribbles up court in the Athenas’ 71-66 win over Whittier in the SCIAC women’s basketball semifinal game Feb. 27 2021. (Courtesy • CMS Athletics)

What they don’t have in numbers, Athenas basketball make up for in their new motto: “Big Team Energy.”

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) women’s basketball team gave a dominant display of “BTE” on Wednesday night’s win over Chapman, defeating the Panthers 75-60 in their last home game of the regular season.

Ava Grey CM ’25, a guard for the Athenas, explained just how that “BTE” came into effect during Wednesday’s game.

“Although we don’t have all the numbers, [it’s fine] as long as the energy and the effort is of a team with a lot more girls,” Grey said. “That showed tonight: we only had seven [players] and that’s rough, but we ran [the Panthers] out.”

Ariana Dalia CG ’23, who led the team in points on Wednesday with 17, explained that the team’s especially sparse roster due to injuries hasn’t affected the energy they’ve brought on the court.

“It’s just that time of the season right now,” Dalia said. “There are little injuries here and there. Hopefully we’ll have everyone returning soon, but while they’re out, everyone knows we have to step it up and fill their shoes.” 

The seven available players more than made up for the four that were missing, keeping their foot on the gas and taking charge from the moment the first whistle blew. Dalia and Katie Resendiz CM ’26 led the effort in the first quarter, with Dalia running fastbreaks and Resendiz hitting some key three-pointers. 

“[Resendiz] did a really good job of coming off the bench [tonight],” Dalia said. “She was fresh legs for us, she hit some really tough shots and had some really good passes.” 

The Athenas finished the first quarter with a five-point lead over the Panthers, 21-16.

Things heated up in the second quarter, with Chapman coming within one point of the Athenas and both teams getting physical, fighting hard for every ball. The Athenas outworked the Panthers, however, battling for and winning nearly every rebound, something Grey says Head Coach Chanel Murchison is always emphasizing.

“[She] is always adamant about our effort and energy, through the little things,” Grey said. “[We had] that pep talk of ‘don’t let any other team outwork you, especially on your home floor.’”

The Athenas re-established control with strong offensive efforts from Grey, Dalia and Jacey Carter CM ’23, taking a 38-31 lead into halftime. 

At the start of the third quarter, the Athenas struggled to find the net. As a result, Chapman brought the score within four at 44-40, forcing a CMS timeout. 

The Athenas flipped the script out of the break, going on a 6-0 run and making Chapman call for time. The Panthers’ strategizing was to no avail, however, as the Athenas scored eight more points thanks to a series of impressive assists and three-pointers from Carter, whose individual performance in the last few minutes of the quarter hyped up her sideline.

“I was face-guarded [in the] the first half, and for me, my game is shooting threes,” Carter said. “So I was really happy to finally be open and hit my shots … I think it really hyped the team up, and it was on a stretch when we were getting some good looks in backdoors.”

Grey agreed that Carter’s efforts came at the right time for the team’s momentum. 

“Heading into this game she’s shooting at 45 percent, which is insane from threes,” Grey said. “So even if she wasn’t getting those looks in the first half, her spacing out and doing the little things really opened it up for us … and she hit them at the right time.” 

The third quarter finished with a 19-point lead (60-41) for CMS. The Athenas kept their composure in a high-scoring fourth quarter, sustaining a consistent attack with individual efforts from Mary Markaryan CM ’24, claiming victory 75-60.

Reflecting on their goals for the rest of the season, the players said they have their eyes on the SCIAC tournament title, but that they’re taking it one game at a time. Carter is confident that this win will set the tone for the team to finish the season strong. 

“We’re just one step closer to our goals,” she said. “We really executed well tonight and it was just about us and making sure that we’re locked in to how we play so we can prepare for [the last two] games.”

The Athenas went on to defeat Occidental 66-55 Saturday. Currently sitting as the second seed in the conference, they will travel to Redlands to take on the Bulldogs to finish off their regular season on Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m.

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