Ariana Dalia broke her old career high by 12 (photo by Stella Cheng)
Ariana Dalia broke her old career high by 12 (photo by Stella Cheng)

Dalia Drops 39 Points, Reaches 1000 in her Career, But Athenas Come up Short in SCIAC Semis

REDLANDS, Calif. – Ariana Dalia went over 1000 career points, set a new career high with 39 points, and had 17 in the fourth quarter alone, but the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team came up just short as it dropped a 79-75 decision to Redlands in the SCIAC Semifinals on Thursday night at Currier Gymnasium.

Renee Chong added 21 points for the Athenas, who see their season come to an end at 16-8, while Redlands (18-7) will face top-seeded La Verne on the road on Saturday night for a chance to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.

Dalia's previous career high of 27 points came while playing at Bates in an NCAA Tournament game. She scored 680 points in her three seasons at Bates, and came into the SCIAC Postseason Tournament with 312 in her one season at CMS, needing just eight for the 1000 milestone. She hit that mark in the first quarter, added 31 more, and ended up just shy of the CMS record for points in a game (44 by Rebekah Chee vs. Linfield in 2000).

Redlands led 49-43 after three quarters, before a crazy fourth quarter that saw CMS outscore Redlands 32-30. The Bulldogs scored the first point of the fourth to go ahead 50-43, before Dalia answered with nine straight points to give the Athenas a 52-50 lead, which would become their only lead of the second half.

After tying the score back up, Redlands was able to use a 7-0 run to take its largest lead at 65-56 with 2:53 to play. CMS responded with an 18-footer from Ruva Kiara, and one of two foul shots from Chong, and then the Athenas stole the ball off the defensive rebound on Chong's second foul shot, earning a three-point play from Dalia to close to within 65-62 with 1:52 to go.

Colbi Zorich hit two foul shots, before Dalia scored again on a short bank shot to close to within 67-64. Redlands went 2-for-4 at the line on its next two possessions to keep the door open, and Chong hit two foul shots with 44.3 seconds left to get it back to a three-point game at 70-67.

Redlands then made three of four at the line, around a big blocked shot from Hannah Jerrier, to push the lead to six. But CMS had one last rally, as Chong hit two straight step-back threes with 18 seconds left and 7.7 seconds left, around two foul shots from Alyssa Downs, to make it 75-73. Chyanne Pagkalinawan hit two pressure-packed foul shots with 6.5 seconds left, and Chong was fouled before she could get off another three and made two free throws, before Downs sealed the frenetic finish with two foul shots with 3.6 left.

CMS got off to a torrid start and led 20-7 in the first quarter. Dalia started an 11-0 run with two foul shots, which was followed by a three-pointer by Grace Florendo. Dalia then made three shots in a row to give the Athenas a 20-7 lead with 1:29 left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs were able to close to within 20-11 at the end of the first quarter and the outscored CMS 22-9 in the second quarter to take a 33-29 lead into the break. A 9-0 run in the middle of the quarter turned a 26-20 lead into a 29-26 advantage.

CMS got back to within one point on two occasions in the third quarter, the first coming on a Renee Chong three-pointer, and the second coming when Dalia answered a Redlands basket to make it 43-42 with 2:44 in the third. But the Bulldogs were able to inch their lead back up to six at 49-43 heading into the fourth.

Dalia finished 12-27 from the floor and 15-21 from the line, tying the program record for free throw attempts. She also added 12 rebounds for a double-double in her final collegiate contest. Kiara had 12 rebounds to go with seven points.