CLAREMONT, Calif. – In spite of the high stakes at the SCIAC Tournament, the seniors were unfazed by the pressure as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team won handily 62-54 over Redlands. Having recently lost to the Bulldogs earlier in the regular season by a game-winning layup, the Athenas were prepared to prevent this from being a close game. With five senior players who are well-familiar with each other's abilities, the Athenas demonstrated superior ball movement and energy on the offensive end to frustrate the Bulldogs' defense.
"Tonight our seniors really wanted to win," Head Coach Kristen Dowling said. "They were determined to not let this be the final game of their career and did everything they could to take it."
Senior Kris Brackmann (CMC) led the team with 19 points, eight rebounds, and two steals while her classmate Quinn Glosniak (CMC) did not miss a beat with 11 points and five rebounds. Senior Jai Dungca (CMC) proved to be one of the x-factors of the night, drawing in defenders into the paint with her speed to open up the floor for the shooters. She finished the night with 13 points, going 5-for-7 from the field. Jade Cheldelin tried to keep the Bulldogs in the game with 18 points, including nine points in the fourth quarter, while Reyna Ta'amu had 10 points with five rebounds.
The Athenas looked ready from the start of the whistle, sparking a 7-0 run. Brackmann dealt most of the damage as she got fouled for two free throws followed by a 3-pointer. CMS gave Redlands problems as Dungca's ability to drive into the lane and the Athenas' willingness to move the ball scrambled the opposing defense. Some strong perimeter defending from Glosniak and Brackmann as well as the interior presence of senior Claire Donnelly (CMC) kept the Bulldogs contained, limiting them to only four points in the first quarter.
With 3:07 left in the first quarter, the bench unit made sure the team would not miss a beat. Donnelly found a cutting junior Corinne Bogle (CMC) beneath the basket for a layup and freshman Maya Love (CMC) forced a steal and was fouled for a couple of free throws. She only made one free throw. In the following possession, Love found Glosniak from the top of the arc for the assist, giving CMS the 15-4 lead. Bogle curled around the key and caught a pass off Dungca to make a jumper to close the quarter.
Redlands finally found its offense in the second quarter, going on an 11-2 run mostly off midrange jumpers to start the quarter. Senior Aly Young (CMC) made some timely layups, scoring six points in the quarter, to keep the Bulldogs at a distance, but a 3-pointer from Caitlyn Dixon shrunk the Athenas' lead to seven points. CMS led 29-22 at the half.
CMS did not take its lead for granted, coming into the second half strong with a 6-0 run. The two teams grinded through on offense, exchanging baskets throughout the period, but it appeared CMS had the upper hand after Glosniak muscled through the lane and drew the foul as she went up for the and-one. Glosniak hit her free throw to give CMS the 45-32 lead.
Cheldelin was determined to keep the Bulldogs alive in the fourth quarter, running through off-ball screens and catching the ball at mid-post for pull-up jumpers. The forward went 4-for-5 in the final quarter. As time winded down, the Athenas made adjustments to deny her the ball and looked poised to seal the victory with two minutes left in the game.
The Athenas will host Chapman on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. for the SCIAC Final. The winner of this game will earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. General Admission will cost $10 and $5 for seniors (55 and older) and veterans. Children under 12 years of age and students (with valid ID) will be admitted for free.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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