CMS Women's Basketball Hangs on to Defeat Willamette in Season Opener 56-54

CMS Women's Basketball Hangs on to Defeat Willamette in Season Opener 56-54

NEWBURG, Ore. – Junior guard Maya Love had a double-double in the first half alone and had a key block in the final seconds as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team held off a late Willamette rally to take a 56-54 win in its season-opener on Friday evening on the first day of the Bruin Classic, hosted by George Fox University.

Love finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Athenas, who start the year with a win after finishing 23-4 last season.

The Athenas led by 10 going into the fourth quarter (41-31) and still had seven-point lead with three minutes to play at 48-41, before the Bearcats scored four quick points to cut it to 48-45 with 2:18 to go. Love came up with a put-back with 1:42 left to push the lead back to five, and a pair of foul shots from senior guard Corinne Bogle after a steal from senior Teeana Cotangco made it 53-47 with 42 seconds left.

Willamette's Drew Farmer found Kassin Hopkins for three in the corner, and then drove all the way to the basket to cut the lead to 55-54 with 24 seconds left. After the Athenas made one of two at the line, Willamette had a chance to go for the tie and Britanny Kochenderfer got to the rim for the tying attempt, but Love came up with the big block to deny the attempt and Bogle ended up with the defensive rebound off the second effort with seven seconds left. CMS was able to prevent Willamette from getting the ball back to hold on for the win.

CMS came out with great defensive intensity, forcing Willamette into four turnovers before the Bearcats could even get their first shot off. The Athenas also started slow offensively as the game turned into a tight defensive battle, before Bates came off the bench and scored seven quick points, shooting 3-3 from the floor and adding a foul shot, to put CMS ahead 14-9 at the end of the first quarter.

The Athenas built the lead up to as many as 12 points at 22-10 on a putback from Love, but Willamette was able to hang in and close to within five at 26-21, before a layup from junior Lindsey Cleary was able to give CMS a 28-22 lead at the break. Love had a double-double in the first half alone, tallying 10 points and 11 boards heading into intermission.

Willamette stayed within five points early in the second half, but Bogle had a personal 5-0 run on a three-pointer and a layup to stretch the lead up to 39-29. After Willamette scored, Cleary answered to make it a 10-point game going into the fourth.

Love was 5-10 from the floor and 3-4 at the line, while grabbing six of her 14 rebounds on the offensive end. Bates finished the game with 11 points on 5-7 shooting for the Athenas, while Bogle (nine points) and Cleary (eight points) just missed double figures as well. CMS finished the game forcing 21 turnovers, while committing only 10.

CMS will be back in action tomorrow when it takes on host George Fox on the second day of the Bruin Classic in a battle of teams that went a combined 48-8 last year (George Fox 25-4, CMS 23-4).