CLAREMONT, Calif. – Senior Night could not have ended any better for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team (17-8, 13-3) after the Athenas clinched their fourth consecutive SCIAC title with a 71-62 victory over Chapman University (15-9, 12-3). In a tight and physical match, the Athenas managed to utilize their size to outplay the Panthers in the post and open up space for the shooters.
Six seniors were honored before the game: Aly Young (CMC), Claire Donnelly (CMC), Kris Brackmann (CMC), Jai Dungca (CMC), Shaina Van Stryk (SC) and Quinn Glosniak (CMC). Not only has this been the only class of Athenas that played in both Ducey Gymnasium and Roberts Pavilion, but they have now won four consecutive SCIAC titles and made three NCAA tournament appearances thus far.
Senior centers Donnelly and Young set the tone on defense and played a major role in holding the Panthers to 39.1 percent shooting from the field. Donnelly led the team with eight rebounds and swatted one shot while Young finished her night with six points and two blocks. However, the star of the night was Glosniak who scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Primarily a glue player, Glosniak played more assertively on the offensive end and attacked the basket at every opportunity.
Trailing 30-28 in the second quarter, Dungca tied the game with a nifty jumper at close range. On the Athenas' following possession, Dungca dribbled around the top of the perimeter and found junior Kailee Severt (CMC) at the right corner with a bullet pass. Severt did not hesitate and made the 3-pointer to give CMS the 33-30 lead with 1:33 left in the half.
The Athenas set the tone at the start of the second half when they crashed the boards after Brackmann missed shot attempt and collected three offensive boards until Dungca made a layup while drawing the foul. With 3:36 left in the third quarter, Dungca willed her way to the rim by driving left for a layup to maintain the Athenas' lead. After Glosniak hit a mid-range jumper, Dungca exploited Chapman's lack of presence by attacking left for another layup to give CMS a 48-45 lead.
The Panthers managed to take 56-54 lead with 7:26 left in the final quarter off a 3-pointer. However, Donnelly stepped in with a huge offensive board off Glosniak's miss and scored the put-back layup. Down by only 58-56, the Athenas rallied with a 6-0 run, starting with a timely 3-pointer from Brackmann off the right corner. After Donnelly recovered another offensive board, freshman Maya Love (CMC) kept the rally alive with a midrange jumper. Donnelly was later fouled after grabbing another offensive rebound and made one free throw to give CMS the 62-58 lead.
With less than a minute in the game, the Athenas needed to get two stops to put the game out of reach. After a brief timeout, Jaryn Fajardo tried to launch a 3-pointer, but her attempt fell short as Glosniak secured the rebound. Megan Charles managed to force a turnover in desperation and went for the fast break layup, but she missed as Glosniak came through to grab another board. The senior was fouled and made both free throws to ice the game.
The Athenas will be awaiting their opening matchup in the SCIAC Tournament which begins on Thursday, Feb. 23. By finishing in the top two of the SCIAC standings, CMS will be hosting the semifinal round at 7 p.m.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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