CMS Women's Basketball Nearly Upsets No. 9 DeSales, But Comes up Short 67-63

Gloria Bates tied for team-high honors with 12 points (photo by Daniel Addison)
Gloria Bates tied for team-high honors with 12 points (photo by Daniel Addison)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team, battling injuries and foul trouble, used a 9-0 run to take a six-point lead with 2:15 left against No. 9 DeSales, but the Bulldogs answered with a game-ending 10-0 run to escape with a 67-63 win at Las Vegas Classic on Monday afternoon at the South Point Arena.

With the loss, CMS slips to 7-3 on the season after winning a two-point game yesterday against St. Vincent (46-44) on the first day of the Classic. The Athenas were playing without senior guard Maya Love and junior point guard Maezelle Millan with injuries and had starting forwards Kate Parrish and Lindsey Cleary limited to 17 and 15 minutes, respectively, due to foul trouble. DeSales, which lost yesterday to No. 1 Amherst at the Classic, improves to 8-2 with the win.  

The CMS reserves kept the Athenas in it, as first-year guard Jacey Carter and senior guard Gloria Bates led the way with 12 points apiece, while sophomore forward Jane Baldwin added eight. Senior guard Kelly Keene had nine points on three three-pointers before fouling out in the final two minutes. 

Baldwin scored down low with 2:15 left to put the Athenas ahead 63-57, before DeSales mounted its comeback at the foul line. The Bulldogs were fouled on three straight possessions, with the third being the fifth on Keene, and hit five of six to close the deficit to 63-62. After CMS was called for a shot clock violation with 42 seconds left, DeSales took the lead with 27 seconds left on a put-back layup by Molly Jansco. 

The Athenas had two possessions in the final 20 seconds to try to take the lead, getting on a short jumper from the left baseline off an inbounds pass, and a three-pointer from the right wing off a kickout pass, but were unable to convert. Jansco came up with both defensive rebounds for DeSales and closed out with three more foul shots in four attempts, including both with four seconds left to seal it, making the final margin four points. 

CMS rallied several times over the course of the game when it looked like DeSales might take control, coming back from eight points down in the second quarter to take the lead at the half, and coming back from seven points down in the third quarter to take the lead going into the fourth. In the third quarter, DeSales went ahead 40-33 with 4:39 left before CMS exploded with 17 points to take a 50-48 lead after the third. Bates started the rally with a jumper, and Carter followed a three-pointer to pull within 40-38. After the Bulldogs went ahead 46-44, Carter and sophomore forward Flora Durgerian hit two straight three-pointers to give CMS a 50-46 lead, before settling for a 50-48 lead going into the fourth. 

In the fourth, CMS trailed 57-54 before its 9-0 run to take its largest lead of the night. Junior point guard Katelynn Nguyen, who started in place of Millan, sparked the rally, converting a three-point play to tie the score and then getting a steal and breakaway layup to put CMS ahead 59-57. Baldwin scored to put CMS ahead by four points, and then scored her second field goal of the fourth quarter with 2:15 to go to give the Athenas the six-point edge. 

After falling behind 16-8 after the first quarter, CMS surged in front 26-25 at the half, closing out on a 9-0 run to take the lead. The quarter began with Keene hitting back-to-back three-pointers to get the Athenas within two points. DeSales answered the spurt, but Carter knocked down her second three of the game, and senior guard Lauren Longo also added one to get the Athenas within 25-20.

CMS then went ahead at the foul stripe, with Baldwin making four in a row to get the Athenas within a single point. Bates then added two with 18 seconds left in the half to make the score 26-25 in favor of CMS at the break.

Jansco led all scorers for DeSales with 18 points on 5-7 shooting from the floor and 8-9 from the foul line, as the Bulldogs were able to win the game at the charity stripe, shooting 29-35, compared to 13-15 for CMS. The Athenas finished with 10 three-pointers, led by four from Carter and three from Keene.

CMS will be back in action after the new year when it returns to SCIAC play with a home game against Whittier on Saturday at 7 p.m.