CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Basketball Team battle to the wire at the Rains Center against the Case Western Reserve Spartans in the final night of the Wells Classic, but the Sagehens fell in nail-biting fashion, losing 74-73. The Hens were fairly effective on both ends of floor, shooting 46.7 percent from the field and holding the Spartans to 40.0 percent. However, the Spartans' ability to force turnovers and get to the foul line resulted in an unlucky end for the hosts.
Season Impact: The Sagehens now carry a 1-2 record this season while the Spartans improve to 2-2.
Junior Anita Romero broke out with a season-high 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, bothering the Spartans with her improved pick-and-pop, while her classmate Keilani Ikehara had a career-high 11 assists to go with eight points and two steals. Emma Godfrey added 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds with three blocks and Alexa Bayangos scored 15 points, all off three-pointers. Hillary Hellmann was effective from the perimeter and on the slash, leading the Spartans with 25 points and 10 rebounds while Kendall McConico added 17 points.
The Spartans got off to a hot start and put the Hens in an early hole as Case Western led 16-2 halfway through the first quarter. However, the Hens regained their composure and tried to dominate in the paint as Romero and Godfrey led a 6-2 run to close the gap 18-8. As the Hens trailed 19-12 with 1:18 left, Renae Tamura drove from baseline and scored a scooping layup to make it 19-14. Spartans closed the period with a 22-14 lead.
Pomona-Pitzer tried to chip away at the Spartans' lead, taking the ball down low and creating looks in the paint, but Case Western managed to answer back at the Hens' run as they closed the half with a 36-28 lead.
Trailing 41-30 in the third quarter, Pomona-Pitzer finally found their spark as a Ikehara passed the ball to Tamura who was outside the key, who then befuddled her defenders with a quick touch pass to Godfrey in the paint for the easy basket. The Hens broke out on a 9-0 run to close the gap 41-39. Trailing 48-47 with less than 30 seconds left, Ikehara took the lead with a layup to close the third quarter.
Bayangos caught fire to start the fourth quarter, drilling two consecutive three-pointers to give Pomona-Pitzer a 55-48 lead. The Hens did all they could to hold onto the lead and snuff out any potential runs from the Spartans, but with 3:18 left in the game Kendall McConico sparked a 9-0 run after scoring a layup followed by seven straight points by Hellmann. Ikehara responded by finding Sophie True in the corner for a three-pointer to tie the game, but Hellmann drew the foul on a layup attempt and made her free throws to take back the lead. Later with 31 seconds left, Hellmann made two more free throws to take a 73-69 lead, but the Hens refused to go away as Ikehara found True in the top of the key to convert a midrange jumper. McConico was fouled and made only one of two free throws, but the Hens refused to give up as Romero brought her team within one with a jumper with eight seconds left in the game. The Hens forced a turnover on the inbound pass and looked for the game-winner, but the Spartans' defense held it down to secure the tight victory on the ensuing possession.
Up Next: The Sagehens will open up SCIAC play this Wednesday, November 29 at 7 p.m. as they travel on the road to take on Whittier College.