Inside Dominance Leads CMS Women's Basketball Past Pomona-Pitzer, Into Sole Possession of First

Inside Dominance Leads CMS Women's Basketball Past Pomona-Pitzer, Into Sole Possession of First

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team had a huge 57-16 rebounding advantage and a 40-14 edge in points in the paint as it captured a 78-55 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Thursday night at Roberts Pavilion in a battle of teams who came into the day tied for first place in the SCIAC at 8-1.

The win was the 13th in a row for CMS, which improves to 17-2 overall and 9-1 in the SCIAC, as well as its 12th in a row in the series with its Sixth Street rivals. Pomona-Pitzer, which came in with a seven-game winning streak, falls to 14-5 overall and 8-2 in the SCIAC with the loss. 

Junior guard Maya Love had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while sophomore forward Kate Parrish added a double-double off the bench with 13 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes. Junior guard Gloria Bates led all scorers with 18 points while also adding five blocked shots, both of which were career highs, with the 18 points tying her personal best set against Occidental last year. 

The inside dominance was part of the team's focus heading into the game, according to Bates. "We usually tend to have size on our opponents," Bates said, "so we really try to pound it in and get good shots. The highest percentage shots are at the basket, so we try to look for our post players and try to drive and see what we can do."

CMS led 35-21 at the half and seemed to have the game in control early in the fourth, taking a 59-41 lead on a lay-up from Love. The Sagehens, though, heated up from outside and knocked down some three-point shots with high degree of difficulty to get back as close as 63-53 with 5:18 to go, and had the ball with a chance to cut it closer.

However, CMS, the top defensive team in the SCIAC, locked Pomona-Pitzer down the rest of the way and closed out on a 13-0 run, making 10 straight foul shots at one point, to make the final score 78-55. Bates capped off the scoring with a short jumper in the paint at the end of the shot clock to give her 18 points, matching her career high. 

The Athenas jumped out to an early lead, pulling ahead 14-5 on a three-point play from Parrish with 4:24 left in the first quarter.  The Sagehens closed within 18-12 before Bates closed out the first quarter with a layup to give CMS a 20-12 lead after the first frame. Love then fed Bates for another layup to push the CMS lead to 31-13 with 3:19 left in the half before Carly Leong hit a three for Pomona-Pitzer with 2:55 left, the first field goal of the second quarter for the Sagehens. 

CMS finished with a 40-13 edge in bench points, led by the 18 from Bates and 13 from Parrish. Bates said that the team's depth is a big part of the team's success. 

"I think what's really exciting is that we never have a letdown," Bates said. "From the first wave to the second wave, we really push ourselves in practice. We're always our own best competition, so we're always ready to go."

CMS will be back in action this weekend when it takes on Redlands at 5 p.m. to try to maintain sole possesion of first place in the SCIAC. The Athenas won a defensive battle at Redlands in the first meeting 47-41 back on Jan. 5.