The Chapman University women's basketball team fell 78-60 to visiting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in the 2014 SCIAC Postseason Tournament championship game at the Harold Hutton Sports Center on Saturday night. The game marked the Panthers' second straight loss in the tournament final after losing to Cal Lutheran in 2013. As a result, the Athenas earn the SCIAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III playoffs which begin next weekend.
Claremont (24-3) got off to a hot start, taking a 14-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game. CMS was hot from long range, converting 4 of 9 first-half three-pointers. Athenas' senior G Kyra Ray went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, scoring eight first-half points for CMS.
Chapman (21-6) battled back, going on a 7-0 run to pull within three points at the 13-minute mark. Chapman junior G Andrea Villanueva led the way for the Panthers with seven points in the period. However, CMS pulled away to end the first half, taking a 37-25 advantage into the break.
The second half was more of the same with Claremont maintaining a double-digit lead for most of the duration. The Panthers were able to cut the lead to single digits with 10 minutes to go, but a 14-8 Claremont run put the game out of reach.
Led by senior F Chloe Dobbert, the Athenas turned in a strong shooting performance, shooting 51.9 percent (27-52) on the game. Dobbert scored 14 points and pulled down nine total rebounds, including four on the offensive boards. Four other Athenas also turned in double-digit scoring performances.
For Chapman, Villanueva scored a team-high 16 points and sophomore C Sandra Gao added 15 points. Senior G Kimi Takaoka – ranked third all-time in Chapman history in scoring – scored eight points in her final home game as a Panther.
Chapman still has a chance to make the NCAA playoff tournament as a Pool 'C' (at-large) selection. The tournament bracket will be announced on Monday.