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Tanya Ghai had 18 in the fourth quarter alone (photo by Eva Fernandez)
Tanya Ghai had 18 in the fourth quarter alone (photo by Eva Fernandez)

Tanya Ghai Drops 35 at Occidental, But Athenas Comeback Falls Three Points Short

EAGLE ROCK, Calif. - First-year guard Tanya Ghai shattered her career best with 35 points for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team, including 18 of the Athenas' 21 points in the fourth quarter, but Occidental was able to go 8-8 on pressure free throws in the final minute to hang on for a 70-67 win on Wednesday evening.

The Tigers move into a tie for first place in the SCIAC with the win, improving to 17-3 overall and 9-3 in league play. CMS slips to 4-16 overall and 2-10 in the SCIAC with the loss. 

Ghai came into the contest with a career high of 20 points, set in the first meeting with Occidental, and nearly reached that total in the fourth quarter alone. She has had big fourth quarters before, though, most notably making all six of her shots to score 13, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer to win it, in a 54-51 victory over Wheaton on Dec. 30. 

CMS trailed 58-50 with just over five minutes left, when Ghai began her tear with a lay-up and a three-pointer to cut it to 58-55 with 4:38 to go. Toni Thompson (34 points, 17 rebounds) had a lay-up and two foul shots to get the lead to 62-56, but Ghai knocked down two foul shots with 1:01 left to close it to four. 

After Occidental made two foul shots, Ghai drove to the basket for a lay-up to make it 64-60. Ghai then answered two Thompson free throws with a three-pointer with 23 seconds left to make it a one possession game at 66-63. Thompson made two more foul shots, but Ghai hit another three, this time while being fouled, and knocked down the foul shot to close the gap to 68-67 with 11 seconds left. 

Thompson again hit two pressure packed foul shots with nine seconds to go, and Occidental was able to force the ball out of Ghai's hands, and the Athenas were unable to make a tying three. 

CMS trailed by three at the half, and fell behind by as many as 12 in the third quarter, but got it down to five by the end of the third on two Sadie Heckman foul shots. 

The Athenas will be back in action on Saturday when they host Chapman for a 4 p.m. contest. It will also be Senior Day, as CMS will honor Mary Markaryan and Sadie Heckman prior to the contest for their final weekend home game.