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Sadie Heckman had two big defensive plays for CMS (photo by Eva Fernandez)
Sadie Heckman had two big defensive plays for CMS (photo by Eva Fernandez)

CMS Women's Basketball Digs Down for Overtime Road Win over Caltech

PASADENA, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team trailed for most of regulation, but Renee Chong hit the tying basket with 12 seconds left and then hit the go-ahead bucket with 1:08 left in overtime, as the Athenas were able to gut out an important 58-52 road win over Caltech on Saturday afternoon at the Braun Athletic Center.

With the win, CMS moves to 6-1 in the SCIAC on the year, remaining in second place behind La Verne (7-0), temporarily a half-game ahead of Redlands (5-1), which plays Cal Lutheran tonight. Caltech falls to 5-11 overall and 2-5 in the league with the loss.

The largest lead the Athenas had during regulation was just one point (on four occasions), but Chong was able to tie the score 48-48 after a timeout with a runner in the paint with 12 seconds remaining. Sadie Heckman blocked a potential game-winning three-point attempt from the Beavers just before the buzzer.

With the score tied late in overtime, Chong hit a tough runner along the baseline with the shot clock winding down to put the Athenas ahead 54-52. After Caltech missed two foul shots, Chong found Heckman behind the defense for a layup to make it a four-point lead, and Heckman came up with a steal for her second big defensive play in the clutch. Chong made two foul shots, and Kayla Ishibashi sealed it with a steal.

Jacey Carter hit a three-pointer with 3:23 left, the first three-pointer for the Athenas in the entire game, to give CMS a 44-43 lead. Faith Pinney answered with a layup to put the Beavers back in front, but Chong converted on a layup late in the shot clock with 2:20 to go to make it a 46-45 CMS lead. Eleanor Kim hit two foul shots with 1:46 to play to put Caltech in the lead yet again.  After the Athenas missed a couple of go-ahead shots, Kim split two at the line with 16 seconds left to leave the Beavers ahead 48-46 before Chong was able to tie it.

CMS was down by nine points at the half, 31-22, but turned up the defense after intermission to get right back in it with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Mary Markaryan jumper. CMS held the Beavers scoreless until they made one foul shot with 5:19 left in the third to go ahead 32-29, but Chong answered with a layup to close to within one.

Katie Resendiz, seeing her first extended action of the season after missing the first semester with an injury, gave CMS its first lead of the afternoon at 35-34 with 3:32 left in the third with a pair of free throws. Caltech answered with two foul shots of its own, and the teams headed to the fourth in a 38-38 deadlock. The Athenas held Caltech to just 1-12 shooting from the floor in the third, outscoring the Beavers 16-7 during the frame.

Chong finished with 20 points, including six in overtime, the second time she has had a big overtime performance. In a 79-77 win over Illinois Wesleyan on Dec. 30, Chong had nine of the 11 CMS points in the extra session. Resendiz had nine key points off the CMS bench, as the Athenas played without second-leading scorer Ariana Dalia from the frontcourt. Markaryan finished with 11 rebounds for the Athenas.

CMS will be back in action on Wednesday night when it hosts Redlands at Roberts Pavilion in a battle for second place in the league standings.