Post Time! Frontcourt Leads CMS Women's Basketball to 82-71 Win over Pomona-Pitzer

Austyn Masuno's career-high 16 points helped CMS to a big Sixth Street win (photo by Daniel Addison)
Austyn Masuno's career-high 16 points helped CMS to a big Sixth Street win (photo by Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Post players Kate Parrish (19 points), Austyn Masuno (16 points) and Lindsey Cleary (14 points) were all in double figures, and the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team held off a second-half Pomona-Pitzer rally and captured an 82-71 win on Wednesday evening at Roberts Pavilion.

With the win, CMS improves to 14-6 overall and 7-4 in the SCIAC, capturing its fifth straight victory, three of which have come against teams that the Athenas lost to in the first half of the conference schedule (Chapman, Whittier, Pomona-Pitzer). CMS also moves alone into third place in the SCIAC after coming into the day tied with Pomona-Pitzer, which falls to 11-9 overall and 6-5 in league play with the loss. 

Parrish added 10 rebounds for a double-double (eight offensive), while Cleary had nine rebounds (seven offensive) to come one rebound shy of a double-double as well. Junior point guard Maezelle Millan had a career-high 10 assists and only one turnover to pace the offense, which had its highest ouput since an 88-86 win over Cal Lutheran on Jan. 8. 

"We have so many weapons," said Millan, whose only turnover of the night came immediately after she had a steal, but slipped on the floor. "I think that's what's so hard about guarding us. Someone different can show up every single game, so we're really dangerous, and this game it really showed."

CMS was clicking on all cylinders and led 46-30 at the break, building up its lead to as many as 20 points in the opening minute of the second half at 50-30. The Sagehens, though, were able to put a run together to close to within 61-50 at the end of three quarters, and then got as close as four points on two occasions, the second at 65-61. Masuno then came up big with a three-point play and a short jumper to stretch the lead back to 70-61, and Cleary capped off a 7-0 run with a basket to get the lead back into double figures with 3:53 left.

Pomona-Pitzer had one more run to get back to within 74-69 on a running bank shot by Madison Quan, but Millan knocked down two pressure foul shots with 1:12 left to make it a three-possession game. Masuno then came up with a key block on what appeared to be an open three-point look for the Sagehens, and then pulled down the defensive rebound to help salt the win away.

CMS took a 46-30 lead at the break as its offense produced 11 assists and only two turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. After taking a narrow 22-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Athenas had a 12-0 run to start the second quarter to push its lead to 34-18, with Parrish scoring nine of the points during the spurt as she asserted herself down low. The Sagehens got back within 38-30 with 2:17 left in the half, but the Athenas rattled off eight straight points to take a 16-point lead into the break, with guards Kelly Keene and Lauren Longo knocking down three-pointers and Masuno converting a layup, all off of Millan assists, as she spread the wealth around. 

"It's a point guard's dream," said Millan of having so many weapons. "That's what I want, I want everyone to be confident to shoot their shot. It makes my job easy."

As a team, the Athenas held a 40-30 rebounding advantage, had 21 assists and only 12 turnovers, and shot 45.5 percent from the floor (30-66). CMS was able to withstand an impressive 20-21 performance from Pomona-Pitzer at the foul line, including 16-16 over the final three quarters. 

CMS will be back in action on Saturday as it tries to extend its winning streak to six games with a home contest against Caltech at 7 p.m. It will also be Senior Day for the program's four seniors, Cleary, Longo, Gloria Bates and Maya Love