CMS Women's Basketball Outlasts Puget Sound in Overtime in 2019-20 Season Opener

Lauren Longo had 11 points as CMS opened the season with a home overtime win (photo by Daniel Addison)
Lauren Longo had 11 points as CMS opened the season with a home overtime win (photo by Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior Lauren Longo had 11 points and senior Gloria Bates had six of her 10 points in overtime as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team managed to pull out a hard-fought 61-59 overtime win over Puget Sound, giving the Athenas a win in the debut of new head coach Chanel Murchison.

CMS begins the year with a 1-0 record, while Puget Sound sees its record level at 1-1 after opening with a road win over Cal Lutheran yesterday. 

The Athenas nearly fell in regulation after having an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, as Puget Sound split two foul shots with 0.9 seconds left to tie the score 50-50 and push the game into overtime. Longo's three-pointer put CMS ahead 43-32 with 7:31 left, and she hit another one with 4:37 to go to make the score 48-39, but the Loggers closed to 48-46 on three foul shots with 3:10 to go from Cassidy Daughery and then tied it at 50-50 on a Minnehan foul shot. 

Puget Sound took their first lead with 3:40 left in overtime on a Raeann Allen layup at 52-51, but Bates hit a tough jump shot before the shot clock expired to put CMS back in front. Daughery had a three-pointer to give the Loggers a 55-53 advantage, but senior forward Lindsey Cleary pulled down an offensive rebound and found junior guard Kelly Keene cutting into the paint for a bank shot with 2:25 to go. 

Junior point guard Maezelle Millan then found Cleary slipping to the basket for a layup with 1:53 left to put CMS back in front. After Daugherty tied it, Bates patiently attacked off the dribble and was able to slip through the Puget Sound defense for a lay-up with just under a minute to go to put CMS ahead to stay at 59-57. Allen hit the underside of the backboard trying to twist for a layup and Bates pulled down the defensive rebound, making both foul shots with 10 seconds left to effectively seal it at 61-57. Puget Sound hit a jumper at the buzzer to make the final score just two points, but the Athenas were happy to concede the meaningless points and walk away with the big home win.

The Athenas never trailed until the overtime session, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes on a lay-up from junior forward Kate Parrish, using aggressive defense early in the contest to force Puget Sound out of its comfort level. Longo indicated that she hopes that sort of pressure becomes part of the team's identity. 

"Absolutely, we're looking to pressure them offensively," said Longo. "I think we did a great job of that tonight. We've been working on our press, we've been working on our halfcourt defense and I think that really showed."

After Puget Sound closed to within 5-4, sophomore Flora Durgerian kick-started a 7-0 run with a three-pointer to make the score 12-4. The Athenas pushed the lead up to 28-18 at halftime, with junior Katelynn Nguyen hitting two foul shots to close out the first-half scoring. 

CMS forced 23 turnovers on the day, with Millan tallying four steals and Cleary adding three. Clearly led CMS with eight rebounds, as the Athenas had a narrow 39-38 advantage on the boards. Longo finished 3-4 from the floor, all on three-pointers, to end with 11 points. 

"It got tough a few times," said Longo, "but I think the biggest thing is that we stuck together. We stayed in it, we battled all 45 minutes, and that's going to be something that's going to be consistent throughout this year." 

CMS will be back in action on Friday night for another home game, when it welcomes in Emory for a 7 p.m. contest at Roberts Pavilion.