CLAREMONT, Calif. – The top-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team edged the No. 4-seeded University of Redlands Bulldogs 69-65 on Thursday night to advance to their fifth-straight SCIAC Conference Championship Game on Saturday. Kate Parrish (CMC) led the Athenas with 16 points off the bench and Corinne Bogle (CMC) dropped 15. Maya Love (CMC) continued to dominate at both ends of the court, notching her 13th double-double of the season with 11 rebounds and 10 points.
In the opening round of the SCIAC Tournament, the Bulldogs gave the Athenas everything they could handle. CMS was up to the challenge, outlasting the scrappy Redlands squad. The game was tight throughout and saw 14 lead changes. Neither team led by more than three points in the game, until Lindsay Cleary (CMC) finished an and-one bucket with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter.
CMS and Redlands traded points throughout the first quarter as the lead bounced back-and-forth. Up by one with 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Bogle made two free throws to give CMS a slim 20-17 lead to close out the opening period.
Cassandra Lacey made a layup a minute into the second quarter to bring the Bulldogs within one at 20-19. The game remained tight over the next five minutes. Ellery Koelker-Wolfe (CMC) tied the game at 25 apiece with a free throw midway through the period. The Bulldogs rallied to take a 29-27 lead with 2:11 left in the half, but Teeana Cotangco (CMC) hit a three to send the Athenas into halftime with a 30-29 advantage.
The second-half picked up right where the back-and-forth first left off as the lead changed four times within the first two minutes of the third quarter. A layup from Parrish with 5:07 remaining in the quarter sparked a seven-point CMS run. Five-straight points from Cleary fueled the run and put the Athenas up 43-37. CMS outscored Redlands 17-14 in the quarter and held a slight lead at 47-43 heading to the fourth.
The two teams played evenly in the final quarter of the game, each scoring 22 points. The Athenas' largest lead came at 8:43 when Bogle sank a jumper to put CMS up by eight at 51-43. The Bulldogs immediately responded with an 8-2 run to pull within two at 53-51 with under seven minutes remaining in the game.
The CMS lead would shrink to just one point on two occasions in the final four minutes and change. Ta'amu Reyna pulled the Bulldogs within one at 57-56 with 2:49 remaining, but Parrish finished back-to-back and-ones and the Athenas held a 63-56 advantage at the 1:51 mark. Cleary drained three shots from the charity stripe in the last minute of the game before Bogle added one more to send the Athenas to the SCIAC Championship with a 69-65 victory.
As mentioned, Parrish and Bogle led the offense in scoring with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Kailee Severt (CMC), Cleary, and Love each dropped 10 points.
The victory puts the Athenas into the SCIAC Championship game for the fifth-straight year. CMS will face the No. 2 seeded Chapman Panthers on Saturday. As the top seed, CMS will host the game in Roberts Pavilion. Check cmsathletics.org later this week for the tip-off time.