Note Schedule Change: This coming Saturday's game with La Verne, originally scheduled to be played at CMS at 5 p.m., will now be played at La Verne at 2 p.m.
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team moved into a first-place tie in the loss column in the SCIAC by taking a 72-54 home win over Cal Lutheran, the only team which was still unbeaten in league play entering the week, on Monday night at Roberts Pavilion.
The win was the seventh in a row for the Athenas, who improve to 11-2 overall and 3-1 in the SCIAC, while Cal Lutheran falls to 6-7 overall and 3-1 in league play. Chapman and Pomona-Pitzer each are 4-1 in the SCIAC through Monday's games, as there are now four teams tied for first place in the SCIAC in the loss column.
Junior forward Lindsey Cleary led CMS with 15 points on 6-8 shooting from the floor, while junior guard Maya Love had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds on 5-7 shooting. Sophomore forward Kate Parrish had 12 points off the bench for her sixth straight game in double figures, while sophomore guard Maezelle Millan had a season high 11 for the Athenas. The CMS frontcourt, which helped the Athenas to a 51-21 rebounding edge in Saturday's win at Redlands, was once again a key factor in the win, as points in the paint were 38-14 in the favor of CMS.
Millan unexpectedly stepped into the starting lineup when Teeana Cotangco was temporarily unable to play at the opening tip, and helped the Athenas quickly turn the momentum after a hot start from Cal Lutheran. In a fitting start for the day of the college football national championship game, Cal Lutheran jumped out to a 7-0 lead, only to have CMS come right back with a 14-0 run to pull ahead 14-7, a lead which the Athenas would never relinquish.
"It was a huge win," said Millan. "This was the team to beat as of right now. I think we're so used to having that rivalry with Chapman and that's who we focus on, but this team beat Chapman, so I think us being them was vital to the SCIAC seedings."
Millan got to the foul line for two foul shots to start the 14-0 run, which was followed by a jumper from senior guard Corinne Bogle. Senior forward Ellery Koelker-Wolfe then fed Millan for a short jumper before driving to the basket for the go-ahead lay-up to make the score 8-7. Love stretched the lead to 10-7 off a Bogle assist, before Millan drove and converted while being fouled to give her six points in the early going. Parrish finished off the 14-0 run with a lay-up off a Love feed to make the score 14-7 with 4:04 left in the first quarter.
Cal Lutheran stayed within 21-16 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a three-pointer from Kailee Yan on the final Regals possession, but CMS dominated the second quarter. The Athenas started the second frame on a 12-0 run and outscored Cal Lutheran 22-9 over the 10-minute stanza to take a 43-25 lead into the break. Cleary had the first four points of the second quarter and junior guard Gloria Bates gave CMS a double-digit lead with two foul shots. Love capped off the 12-0 run with a lay-up off a feed from Koelker-Wolfe to push the lead to 33-16 with 4:42 left in the half.
Cal Lutheran attempted to battle back in the second half, cutting a 21-point lead in the third quarter down to 15 heading into the fourth (59-44) and managed to get within 10 points with 2:53 left. Millan, though, helped seal the win with a driving lay-up through traffic to make the score 66-54 and CMS shut out the Regals down the stretch to hold on.
Cotangco ended up with seven points off the bench after being a last-minute scratch from the starting line-up. The Athenas held a 36-31 edge in the rebounding department, led by the 10 from Love, while the team had 17 assists on its 26 baskets, led by five from Koelker-Wolfe, as CMS shot 50 percent from the floor for the game (26-52).
"One of our greatest strengths is that we have so many weapons," said Millan. "When we share the ball like that, we get easy shots, and that's how our field goal percentage remains high."
CMS will be back in action on Wednesday night when it hosts Occidental for a 7 p.m. contest at Roberts Pavilion, before heading to La Verne on Saturday for a 2 p.m. contest.