RICHARDSON, Texas – For the second consecutive year, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team has advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament after the 79-63 win over UT Dallas. The Athenas held their opponents to just 26 points in the second half to beat the Comets on their home court. Additionally, the win marks head coach Kristen Dowling's 100th in her career.
Junior Kailee Severt (CMC) led all players with 24 points for a season high. Her six 3-pointers in the game was also a career high. Severt was backed up by senior Kris Brackmann (CMC) who put up 18 this evening. Brackmann drained all nine free throws in the contest and recorded a season-high of seven assists.
UTD got off to a hot start jumping out to the 10-2 lead after a 3-pointer by Micaela Gonzalez for only her fifth of the season. Senior Jai Dungca (CMC) hit a 3-point basket at 5:40 and then after a CMS timeout, Severt scored the remaining nine points in the quarter. The Athenas made up considerable ground with back-to-back threes by Severt to come within five points.
Brackmann got hot at the beginning of the second quarter, ultimately tying up the game for the first time on the evening at 23-23. Again, the Athenas tied up the game at 26 apiece with a three point play by Severt after getting fouled on a layup.
Freshman Maya Love (CMC) entered the game at 6:23 in the second and immediately had an impact. She hustled for her first steal of the day and then grabbed a defensive board before CMS took the first lead of the game on a Severt 3-pointer. The Athenas' defense forced a turnover from a bad pass and then Love fought hard for a putback layup to increase the lead to 31-26.
UTD answered with a three of its own, this one by Kayla Reinhart, and then a layup by the tenacious Victoria Pena to tie it 31-31. At the half, CMS trailed by just one point but was winning the rebound battle.
On the Comets' first possession in the new half, Gonzalez was stuffed by Donnelly who ended up with three blocks in the game. After yet another three by Severt, Gonzalez made a jump shot to give UTD 44 points at 5:44 in the third.
The home team would not score again until 30 seconds into the fourth quarter as CMS went on a 12-0 run. The Athenas went back to the basics of hard-nosed defending. CMS was intelligently aggressive and dictated the pace of the game.
At the end of the quarter, Brackmann grabbed a steal and was immediately fouled and put on the line. Brackmann ranks No. 2 in the nation in free throw percentage and she delivered in tonight's game.
Brackmann started the final quarter with back to back assists on layups. First, senior Aly Young (CMC) gave CMS the 53-45 advantage and then Brackmann found classmate Quinn Glosniak (CMC) under the hoop for a wide open layup.
CMS continued to put on a clinic as Donnelly went straight to the hoop for a pair of layups giving the Athenas a 15-point lead. Severt hit her final three of the game at the end of a shot clock to give CMS the biggest lead of the game at 68-50.
Down the stretch, UTD's Pena made a handful of 3-pointers, but it was not enough to close the gap.
"We did a phenomenal job of making passes tonight," said Coach Dowling reflecting on the game. In just her fifth year as head coach at CMS, Dowling has amassed a 100-38 record so far for a .725 winning percentage.
On Saturday, the Athenas will face Trinity, the No. 1 seed in the Regional at 7 p.m. CST. The No. 7 Tigers beat Hendrix 82-74 earlier on Friday to advance to the Round of 32.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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