Women’s Basketball Downs Athenas Before Falling in Final Two Games

The Pomona-Pitzer women’s basketball team won a thrilling Sixth Street showdown against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps before dropping a pair of road games against Occidental College and University of La Verne to cap off its season.

The Hens and Athenas were locked in a stalemate during P-P’s Senior Day until the game’s final minute. P-P took a one point lead into halftime, but could not pull away out of the break. The Hens ultimately hung on for the 69-65 win and bragging rights across the 5Cs. Amelia Hummel PZ ’16 iced the game with three clutch free throws in the final minute, giving her 11 points on the game to go along with eight rebounds. Hummel’s final two free throws came with only seven seconds remaining, giving P-P a four-point lead to put the game out of reach. Jenn Okonkwo PO ’16 put up 20 points to lead the Hens along with 11 rebounds.

The final two games of the season exposed the under-manned Hens, who were bitten by the injury bug, as they were unable to keep pace with strong Occidental and La Verne teams on the road. While the season ended with two losses, the Sagehens consider their most recent campaign a success, even without a conference title. 

“I’m very proud of my team,” Vanessa Ho PO ’13 said, reflecting back on the Sagehens’ performance this season. Ho added 14 points in her final home game against CMS.

The Sagehens suffered two hard-fought losses a week earlier to conference leaders Chapman University and California Lutheran University.

The Sagehens knew that their matchup against Cal Lutheran would be a tough fight. The Regals are the reigning conference champions and entered the game having won 12 of their last 13. In their first matchup, Cal Lutheran rolled to a 67-48 victory. The Sagehens’ bench was thin, as only eight players dressed while leading scorer Alexis Sones PO ’13 was out with an injury.

The Sagehens went toe-to-toe with the Regals in the first half and took a 13-12 lead when Alice Timkin PO ’16 hit a jumper with 6:01 left in the half. However, the Regals finished the first half on a 9-1 run to take a 28-19 lead into the intermission.  

“Like the game last week against number two Chapman, this week’s game against number one Cal Lu saw a very close first half,” Ho said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep up with our opponents’ full bench with just eight healthy players.”

The Regals then scored nine straight points to open the second half and put the game away. Second-Team All-SCIAC selection Channing Fleischmann, the only player to reach double digits, had 14 in the second half to seal the deal, including four threes. 

Hummel led the Sagehens with nine points, and Okonkwo added eight points and eight rebounds. For the game, the Sagehens were held to 27 percent shooting.

P-P had hoped to capitalize on its win against Caltech on Feb. 2, but the squad was outmatched against a Chapman team that had won five straight.  After the Sagehens jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first minute, Chapman responded with an 11-0 run and never trailed again the rest of the game. 

Panther guard Kimi Takaoka led the way with 16 points in the first half, including four three-pointers. Despite Chapman’s hot shooting, the Sagehens were able to stay within range thanks to Ho’s nine points, and trailed by only eight at halftime.

Chapman blew the game open after halftime, however, outscoring the Sagehens 14-4 in the first six minutes to open up an 18-point lead. The Sagehens made a final push with a 12-2 run to draw within 10, but the Panthers pulled away to close out a 64-49 win. 

Ho led the Sagehens with 15 points, and Hummel added 13 points and four rebounds to fill the void left by Sones’ absence. While the Sagehens have usually been competitive in the first half, their lack of depth has hurt them late in games. Other teams have often pushed the pace in the second half, and the Sagehens haven’t been able to keep up.

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