Finally beginning their season after their match at Hope International University was postponed and their match against Linfield College was cancelled due to illness, the Sagehen women’s basketball came up short in consecutive matches at the David Well Classic. In their first game of the season, P-P fell 67-62 to the University of Dallas in an exhilarating matchup before a blowout loss to University of California, Santa Cruz 73-34 ended the classic for the team.
Early on, it became clear that UC Santa Cruz’s high-powered offense would be too much to handle for the Sagehens. Thus far, the Banana Slugs have been playing magnificently, accumulating a 4-1 record in the season. Last Friday, UC Santa Cruz put up an equally impressive showing against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, cruising to a 59-31 victory.
The Sagehens were lead by Ruthie Shapiro PZ ’15 and Alexis Sones PO ’13, both of whom had eight points each in the game. Perhaps the large Sagehen loss was a result of the team’s poor shooting across the board. P-P shot a dismal 27.7% from the field, netting only 13 of the 47 shots they took. For three-point shots, the Sagehens fared even worse, making only one of 15 attempted shots. On the contrary, the consistent shooting of UC Santa Cruz allowed them to run up the score as the game progressed. The Banana Slugs made 52.9% of their shots from the field, with an incredible 47.8% three-point shot percentage on 23 attempts.
P-P’s first match of the season proved to be worth the anticipation, however. In the first half, the Sagehens emerged as the stronger team, leading 27-21 heading into halftime. Mounting an early 14-6 lead through two free throw shots by Maria Weyhrauch PO ’15, the Sagehens continued their impressive play as they gained their largest lead of the game, nine points, with 39 seconds left in the first half. The dominant play of Erin Edmonds PZ ’14 was integral in the early P-P lead, and she finished the game with 16 points and a perfect shooting percentage from the field.
The Banana Slugs came out swinging in the second half, refusing to concede the game to the Sagehens. UC Santa Cruz quickly nullified the P-P lead and garnered a lead of their own. With 11:54 left in the game, the Banana Slugs manufactured a three-point play to pull ahead 45-37. Fortunately, the Sagehens demonstrated their resilience and never let the rejuvenated Banana Slugs pull too far in front. In fact, consistency from the Sagehens as a whole allowed the team to tie the game at 51-51 and once again at 58-58 with only 4:12 left in the game. However, the Banana Slugs pulled out in front 62-58 with 3:00 to go and never looked back. UC Santa Cruz crushed any chances of a late Sagehen comeback, and prevailed 67-62.
Unfortunately for the Sagehens, their season only gets harder from here. After starting 0-2, P-P will begin SCIAC play this week, starting with Chapman University. In the past few years, the Sagehens have not fared well in conference play, finishing with a 3-11 record last season and a seventh-place finish. For the Sagehens to make a run for the SCIAC championship this season, they must improve their offensive shot-making in order to increase their field goal percentage and score more points.
Perhaps Alexis Sones PO '13 is someone upon whom P-P can rely for future success in the SCIAC. As part of two NCAA Sweet 16 teams at Bowdoin College before transferring to Pomona last year, Sones’s strong play last season resulted in a SCIAC Newcomer of the Year award. Leading P-P in scoring in the 2011-2012 season, Sones averaged 14.6 points a game, even scoring 27 points on multiple occasions. For the Sagehens to have a bigger impact in the SCIAC in 2012-2013, Sones must play an even bigger role for the team in her second year at Pomona.
The Sagehens are back in action at University of Redlands on Saturday.