Women's Basketball: Sagehens Claim First Ever SCIAC Tournament Championship

Women's Basketball: Sagehens Claim First Ever SCIAC Tournament Championship

CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Basketball team earned their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Tournament Championship in program history as they defeated CMS 60-57 on Saturday night at Roberts Pavilion.

With this win, the Sagehens advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 and improve to 22-5 overall.

The Sagehens were led by senior Keilani Ikehara who tallied a team-high 16 points in the win. First-year Carly Leong had 15 points while sophomore Renae Tamura had 12 points and six rebounds.

The Sagehens did not have the offensive night that they are used to against CMS as they shot just 40.8% from the field and 31.6% from three but it was the defense that came up huge for the Sagehens against the Athenas as the held CMS to just 34.3% from the field and 20% from three.

The Sagehens got out to a nice start in the first quarter against CMS and held a 14-8 lead with 3:45 to go. CMS came back and tied the game at 14-14 but Ikehara would hit a late free-throw to give the Sagehens a slight 15-14 lead.

The second quarter was a defensive battle as both teams had one of the lowest scoring quarters all season long. The Sagehens were held to under 10 points in the second with just nine to show for in the quarter while CMS didn't shoot much better with 11. Pomona-Pitzer led for 14 minutes of the first half but turned the ball over seven times to help CMS take a 25-24 lead heading into the locker room. Tamura led the Sagehens at the half with seven points.

Ikehara came out in the second half with five-straight points to give the Sagehens a 29-25 lead, but CMS responded with five-straight from Maya Love to reclaim the lead at 30-29 into the first media timeout of the half. CMS took a three-point lead late in the third but a big three from Tamura tied the game at 36-36 with the SCIAC Championship all coming down to the fourth quarter. 

Pomona-Pitzer got out on top early in the fourth and answered every time CMS got within striking distance. The Sagehens held onto a slight five-point lead midway through the fourth but CMS could never get back to even with the Sagehens. After cutting the lead down to one, Leong drove to the lane and converted an and-one to put the Sagehens up four at 52-48 with 1:36 to play.

The Athenas were forced to foul and some good free-throw shooting by the Sagehens gave them the cushion they needed as they held on for their first SCIAC Tournament Championship in program history.

Up Next: The Sagehens will await the NCAA Selection show on Sunday to find out their next opponent in the upcoming NCAA tournament.