The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s basketball team (23-4, 15-1 SCIAC) faced the Chapman Panthers (23-4, 15-1 SCIAC) in a grueling double overtime matchup in the SCIAC tournament final Feb. 24, and fell just short of claiming what would have been their 5th straight SCIAC title. The Panthers walked away with a 70-61 victory.
Throughout the season, the Athenas and Panthers were neck-and-neck for the No. 1 spot in the conference — both entered the tournament with identical 15-1 records. That same back-and-forth, competitive play showed up in the title game Saturday night.
After 40 minutes of regulation play, the action had just begun, as Kate Parrish CM ’21 forced an overtime period by making a clutch layup with seven seconds on the clock to tie the game 43-43.
“What I love about this team is we have so much talent, and every player has the potential to step up on a given night and perform,” Parrish said. “That person changes constantly, and our coaches stress that every single person is important to the success of the team.” Parrish found herself in a key contributing role for the team on Saturday, notching 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Athenas.
During the first overtime, the Panthers established a lead, and the game looked all but over. However, guard Corrine Bogle CM ’18 nailed a three-point shot in the final minute to tie the game, and send every CMS fan in the room to their feet.
“Corrine’s three-pointer was really a senior shot,” teammate Maya Love CM ’20 said. “It takes a lot of maturity to make a shot like that under pressure.”
The Athenas used the energy of two close comebacks to sustain themselves throughout the second overtime, and continued to battle neck-and-neck for the first three minutes. However, the magic began to wear off in the last two minutes as Chapman did not miss a shot in the second overtime and eventually established a lead to end the game on top.
As the entire Chapman team stormed the court in celebration, the Athenas got very quiet. “It was very silent, and it was hard to come off of so much intensity and know where we go from here,” said Love, who led the Athenas with 15 points.
While CMS is a young team, they all wanted to perform well to give their senior athletes the send-off they deserved. The Athenas were especially young Saturday, with former SCIAC Athlete of the Year and 2018 first-team all-SCIAC player Kailee Severt CM ’18 unable to play in the championship game after sustaining a concussion in the semi-final round.
Though the Athenas were disappointed they couldn’t leave their seniors with a win to end their careers, “it was a send-off that the seniors were willing to accept, because they really saw our heart in it,” Love said.
With a young team, senior captains Severt and Bogle have been strong role models for first-year team members like Parrish, she said.
“Corrine and Kailee have showed leadership by not only showing me what it means to be a good teammate, but also what it means to be a good person,” Parrish said.
This was the last SCIAC championship game for the seniors on the team, and even though they were disappointed with the result, they will look back on their time playing in the SCIAC fondly.
“Right before we started the second overtime, I remember standing at half court and telling myself to just remember the moment as best I could,” Bogle said. “To be center court in a facility like Roberts Pavilion with all of those cheering fans in a double overtime game — it’s exactly what you dream of experiencing when you’re young and just learning how to play basketball.”