ORANGE, Calif. – Senior Jaryn Fajardo scored 20 points but the Chapman University women's basketball team fell 74-65 to No. 7 Amherst College in the first game of 2019. The Panthers (8-5) cut a double digit deficit down to a single point in the third quarter but couldn't climb out of an early hole.
Amherst (10-1) knocked down 10 of their 12 shots in the opening quarter to jump out to an early lead. The Panthers trailed by as many as 13 points but a couple of layups from Fajardo in the final 30 seconds cut the deficit down into single digits.
After a tough opening quarter, the teams played evenly through the final 30 minutes. Chapman went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to climb back within four. Junior Lucy Criswell hit three free throws to make it 34-30 to cap the run. Amherst's Cam Hendricks knocked down a three-pointer on the other end to stop Chapman's biggest run of the game.
Chapman outscored the Mammoths 18-16 in the second quarter but Amherst held one-point advantages in the third and fourth quarters, 21-20 and 14-13. Madeline Eck fueled the Mammoths with 30 points. Hendricks had 19 points and eight rebounds.
The Panthers had a chance to take the lead in the third after an 8-0 that spanned less than two minutes. Criswell drained a pair of three-pointers to spark the run and Fajardo knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 50-49 with 4:31 left in the quarter. Freshman Madison Shigeta came up with a steal on Amherst's next trip down the floor to give Chapman the chance to take the lead. However, the Panthers turned it over on the next possession.
Eck drove to the rim for a layup to halt Chapman's run and spark a 10-1 to put Amherst comfortably back in front 60-50. Chapman climbed as close as four points in the fourth quarter but Amherst always had an answer to stay out in front.
The Mammoths went 16-of-17 from the free throw line and shot 50.9 percent in the game to pick up the win. Chapman shot 40.7 percent in the New Year's Day contest but was just 3-for-15 in fourth quarter.
Criswell ended the game with 15 points and nine rebounds. Fajardo and five rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals to go along with her 20 points.
The Panthers played their final non-conference game and now head back into SCIAC play on Saturday when they host Whittier at 2 p.m. Chapman went 3-1 in four early season SCIAC games.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director