The whistle pierced the air, signaling the start of the Pomona-Pitzer women's basketball season. The referee tossed up the ball, it was tipped to Transylvania University, and the game was under way.
The first shot sailed in the air from behind the three-point line, hit the iron and missed. The rebound was brought home by forward Anita Romero PZ '19. Both teams traveled up and down the court, coming up empty. The stalemate was finally broken as guard Keilani Ikehara PZ '19 flushed down a three-pointer to put the first points on the board. 3-0 Sagehens.
Last season, the Sagehens (1-1) completed the year with a respectable record of 6-9 overall and 5-11 in SCIAC. The Sagehens aim to compete at the SCIAC tournament and utimately return victorious as the champions. However, a lineup of formidable opponents stands in the Sagehens' path to victory.
One opposing team is P-P's neighbor, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. CMS (1-0) had a perfect season last year and is the current reigning two-peat champions, aiming for a three-peat.
The Sagehens certainly have a chance, especially with forward Basha Brulee-Wills PZ '17, who led the SCIAC in both scoring and rebounding last year, averaging 18.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. She also posted an astonishing 13 double-doubles in her amazing season. In recognition of her achievements, she was named both All-West Region and First-Team All-SCIAC last season.
The Sagehens have also added four first-years to their lineup this year: Romero, a 5'9″ forward from Victorville, Calif.; Naomi Baer PO '19, a 5'9″ guard from Atherton, Calif.; Melissa Hooke PO '19, a 5'9″ guard from Marion, Mass.; and Ikehara, a 5'4″ guard from Los Angeles, Calif. With the addition of these first-years, the team has definitely added some size and mobility, especially with the three new guards.
With a bright outlook on the season, the Sagehens took the court against Transylvania on Friday night, Nov. 13, at Voelkel gym.
The game was a close one, despite what the final 70-58 score may suggest. Both teams shot just above 30 percent from the field and had equal amounts of assists, turnovers, and points in the paint. The score differential ultimately resulted from three-pointers and free throws.
Transylvania was 7-29 on three-point attempts, while the Sagehens were 2-14. Although the Sagehens shot better from the free-throw line, making 75 percent of their free throws, Transylvania drew more fouls and went to the line more, shooting 10 more free throws than P-P. However, some of those free throws were a result of the foul game to stop the clock in the last minutes of the game. In a close game like this one, the easy points from the line tipped the balance of the match, and the fact that Transylvania out-rebounded the Sagehens 47 to 39 certainly played in the opposing team's favor.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Sagehens captured their first win of the season by a score of 72-58 over La Sierra University.
Next, P-P will compete at the David Wells Classic at CMS over Thanksgiving weekend, where they will face off against the University of Puget Sound and Willamette University. The Sagehens will have their first SCIAC game on Saturday, Jan. 2, at California Lutheran University.