CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer women's basketball team battled hard against Chapman University on Wednesday night, but took a tough 74-63 loss to the Panthers. It was a frustrating night on the Sagehens' end as they managed to stay within a five-point gap for most of the game, but struggled to close out as the Panthers kept finding an answer to the Sagehens' rallies.
Up Next: The loss puts the Sagehens with a 2-8 record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and 4-14 overall.
Emma Godfrey led the Sagehens with 19 points and 12 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season and Anita Romero had nine rebounds to go with six points. Alexa Bayangos was the second-highest scorer for the Hens with 11 points while Naomi Baer posted a season-high nine points off the bench. The Panthers were led by Jaime Hum-Nishikado with 17 points and Jaryn Fajardo with 15 points. Paige Endo made an impact off the bench with 12 points and seven assists to help the Panthers stay perfect in the SCIAC.
The Panthers built a three-point lead in the first quarter, staving off the Sagehens from tying the game until the end. Leading 12-9 with 3:45 left in the quarter, Endo converted a layup off a pass from Marissa Dunn to extend the lead, but Godfrey responded with a quick layup after Baer grabbed a rebound off Renae Tamura's miss and dished a short pass in the post. Tamura later hit a midrange jumper to bring the Hens within one at 14-13, but the Panthers scored back with a jump shot from Lucy Criswell with 1:45 left. The score remained until the second quarter.
Trailing 24-18, Anya Quig brought the Hens within four with 7:06 left after converting a layup off a pass from Bayangos. A three-pointer from Hum-Nishikado looked a spark that would jumpstart the Panthers' offense, but Bayangos quickly diffused it with a jumper to make it 27-22. For the remainder of the second quarter, the Sagehens tried to close the five-point deficit, but attempts to comeback were negated by timely baskets from the Panthers. Chapman led 35-30 at the half.
After going scoreless in the opening two minutes of the second half, the Panthers scored the first buck off a jumper from Fajardo. Baer responded on the next possession by finding her way into the paint for a layup. Bayangos set the Sagehens up with an opportunity to tie the game after converting a three-pointer with 2:25 remaining, but a foul sent Fajardo to the line for two free throws as Chapman held a 45-41 lead. Falling behind 50-45 with less than a minute remaining, Keilani Ikehara flashed some creativity on offense, dish a skip pass to the racing Godfrey on a fast break past two defenders as the freshman converted the layup to cut the deficit 50-47. Godfrey and Ikehara each made a free throw to bring the Hens within one as they ended the half behind 50-49.
The final quarter played out similarly to the prior as the Sagehens tried to close the small deficit while the Panthers managed to stave them off with timely baskets. After a put-back layup from Godfrey cut the lead 61-58, the Panthers went on a 6-0 run to build a nine-point lead. With 3:50 remaining, Godfrey scored a layup in traffic, but the Sagehens struggled to rally as the two teams were scoreless for the next two minutes. Chapman managed to pull away with free throws as the Panthers closed the game with a 74-63 victory.
Up Next: Pomona-Pitzer will host UC Santa Cruz on Saturday evening for a non-conference game at 5 p.m.