With midterms on the horizon and caffeine levels spiking in the average college student, the Claremont Colleges have been buzzing with activity. Unadulterated dread of exams, however, was replaced with the utmost excitement as the Pomona-Pitzer women’s basketball team (11-14, 8-8 SCIAC) finished their season with two wins in their very own Voelkel Gym.
On the night of Saturday, Feb. 20, the Sagehens took on the University of La Verne (5-19, 4-12 SCIAC). The Hens earned an early seven-point lead on the Leopards. By the end of the first half, the lead had doubled to 14 with six points from Cassandra Palmer PO ’18, and five each from Alaina Woo PO ’17 and Melissa Hooke PO ’19 in the second quarter alone. However, tensions ran high as the Leopards clawed their way back into the game during the third, ending the period only two points away from a dead tie at 48-46.
The Leopards and the Sagehens were neck-and-neck in the fourth, trading off point after point in a flurry of steals and rebounds. The crowd erupted when the clock read 0:39, and Amelia Hummel PZ ’16 made the jump shot that would secure a three-point lead for the Hens.
The Sagehens pressured the Leopards on defense, up 62-59. However, with only 17 seconds on the clock, Bailey Kurahashi of the Leopards maneuvered an open three-point shot to tie the score 62-62, and send the game into a thrilling overtime.
Once again, Kurahashi kept the Leopards in the game with another three-point shot with only four seconds on the clock. Despite Woo’s three free throws and Hooke’s three-pointer, a three-pointer from Kurahashi tied the game 71-71, forcing the Hens and Leopards into yet another overtime.
Fueled by the cheers of a raucous crowd, the Sagehens would not relent. The Leopards had no chance against the Sagehen defense: La Verne only scored one basket in the entire five-minute period. The Sagehens, on the other hand, kicked their offense into gear, plowing through the Leopards’ defense to earn 15 points, with seven from Woo alone. With a reenergized offense, thanks to 24 points from Basha Brulee-Wills PZ ’17 and 17 from Woo, the Hens secured a victory 86-73 over La Verne.
With a well-deserved win on their shoulders, the Sagehens entered their home gym on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to face the California Institute of Technology Beavers. Nikes laced up and flowers in hand, the team honored its beloved senior Sagehens: Hummel, Juliah Shay Kim PO ’16, and McKenna Vanderkley PZ ’16.
Truly, the Sagehens played their hearts out in their last game of the season. With a deep breath before tip-off, the Sagehens immediately took possession of the ball. 20 seconds into the game, Woo made her presence known with a three-pointer that set the tone for the rest of the night.
The Sagehens ended the first quarter with a score of 19-15, and the half up 38-25. Pomona-Pitzer’s offense gave an impressive performance, making countless jumpshots, layups, and three-pointers. Hummel ended her Pomona-Pitzer basketball career with a 20-point performance. The Sagehens held on to an 11-point lead to end the third quarter up 54-43, in which Woo scored six of her 23 points for the night.
At the sound of the fourth period buzzer, the Sagehens came out with the same grace and dedication as when they first stepped into the gym. The Sagehens ended the night with a score of 74-65, ending their season on a high note that confirmed their camaraderie.
“The team has finished the season with two exciting wins, one of which went into an unbelievable double overtime,” VanderKley reflected on the season. “We hit numerous three pointers to beat the Leopards. We celebrated our coaches’ retirement afterwards and enjoyed the most thoughtful Senior Day I've ever seen… thanks, juniors, for putting that together!”