Women's basketball overcomes slow start to down Sagehens

Lucy Criswell shoots a three-pointer.
Lucy Criswell (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – The momentum swung in the second quarter and the Chapman University women's basketball team rode the wave to an 80-74 win over Pomona-Pitzer. Sophomore Julianna Campas and senior Lucy Criswell each had 23 points in the big early season win.

The Panthers (6-6, 2-1 SCIAC) handed the defending SCIAC Tournament champions their first SCIAC loss of the season. Criswell put up double-double numbers with 10 rebounds to go along with her 23 points and three blocked shots.

A slow start put the Panthers in a big early hole. Chapman trailed 23-11 at the first break and was shooting just 35 percent with seven turnover after the first 10 minutes. The game flipped in the second quarter as the Panthers turned it up on both ends of the floor.

Chapman was 10-of-15 in the second quarter, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, and forced seven turnovers from the Sagehens. Pomona-Pitzer was just 3-of-10 in the second and went on a five-minutes scoreless drought that saw their lead disappear entirely.

Criswell was 5-of-5 in the quarter to lead the charge. While the Sagehens struggled to score, the Panthers went on a 20-4 run over nearly an eight-minute span. The once sizeable lead disappeared when Criswell knocked down a three-pointer with 4:02 left before halftime. The run continued with sophomore Madison Shigeta getting a wide open look under the basket off a pass from classmate Julia Strand.

Shigeta's bucket capped a defining 10-0 run the flipped the game. Chapman never trailed after claiming the lead on Criswell's three. The Sagehens ended the run on a three from Carly Leung but Chapman still added to its lead as it outscored Pomona-Pitzer 6-5 in the final two minutes for 39-32 halftime lead.

Chapman stifled any effort from the Sagehens to make a comeback as the lead reached as much as 12 points in the third quarter. The Sagehens patiently whittled the lead down to 63-60 with 7:17 still left in the game but Criswell drained one of her five threes to push it back to six. The Sagehens cut it back to three but Campas knocked down the last of her six threes in the game to put the lead back at six.

Pomona-Pitzer continued to push back but junior Taylor Hextrum delivered the knockout blow. Hextrum sprinted to the basket off an inbound play, banked in the layup as she was fouled and converted the three-point play on the charity stripe to make it 77-70. The Panthers made 3-of-6 free throws down the stretch but got the needed defensive stop in the final minute to seal the victory.

Chapman is on the road for its next three games but returns to Hutton Center on Jan. 18 to take on La Verne at 4 p.m.

By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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