Huge Lead Helps Athenas Claim Share of SCIAC Championship

photo credit: Alisha Alexander
photo credit: Alisha Alexander

CLAREMONT, Calif. – Needing a victory over Chapman on Saturday night to claim a share of the 2017-18 SCIAC Championship, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team played some of their best basketball of the season for the first three quarters to build a massive, 56-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Despite a late push by the Panthers, CMS held on down the stretch for the 67-58 win.

With the victory, CMS ends the regular season tied with Chapman for the SCIAC Championship with identical 15-1 conference records. The Athenas claim their fifth straight and 11th overall SCIAC Championship and, after winning a post-game coin-flip, CMS earned the top seed heading into next weekend's SCIAC Tournament.

Maya Love (CMC) paced the Athenas on the night, finishing with 19 points and 20 rebounds in the most important game of the season. Love had already collected a double-double prior to half-time with 11 points and 12 rebounds. She finished the game, 7-10 from the field while collecting two steals, two assists, and one block.

Love started her stellar game with a layup on the contest's opening possession. After a Chapman jumper, Kailee Severt (CMC) finished a layup to start a 9-0 CMS run to give the Athenas the lead at 11-2 midway through the period. CMS continued to lead by nine at the end of the quarter at 18-9.

Five minutes into the second quarter, the Panthers cut the CMS lead down to five points at 25-20, but the Athenas went on a 10-4 run to end the half and take a 35-24 lead at the break.

The Athenas best quarter of the game came in the third when they scored 21 points and allowed just six to build their lead to 26 points. As mentioned, the Athenas played some of their best basketball of the season in the first three quarters. CMS held the Panthers to nine points in the first quarter and just 24 points in the opening half, before taking a 30-point lead late in the third quarter at 56-26.

During the first three quarters, CMS held Chapman to just a 27.7% mark from the field (12-44).

Chapman attempted to come back in the fourth quarter, but the hill was too tall to climb and the Athenas held on for the 67-58 victory.

In addition to Love's huge night, Kate Parrish (CMC) finished the night with 13 points and seven rebounds while Kailee Severt dropped 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.

With the victory, the Athenas close out the regular season and will now head to the SCIAC Tournament as the top seed. CMS will host the No. 4-seeded Redlands Bulldogs on Thursday night in Roberts Pavilion at 7:00 p.m. Should CMS advance to the SCIAC Tournament Championship Game, the Athenas hold home-court advantage and will play the winner of No. 2 Chapman vs. No. 3 Cal Lutheran on Saturday.