The top four teams in SCIAC face off in the conference tournament on Thursday and Saturday this week. While CMS tied with Chapman in regular season record (14-2), Chapman beat CMS for the Athenas' only two losses and takes the top seed in the tournament. In the semifinal games No. 1 seed Chapman hosts No. 4 seed Cal Lutheran and No. 2 seed CMS hosts No. 3 seed Redlands, both games on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The final will be played at the highest remaining seed's house on Saturday, March 1.The winner of the final earns the automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament.
#1 Chapman vs. #4 Cal Lutheran
Winners of eight straight games, the Chapman University women's basketball team earned a share of the conference co-championship with a season-ending win over La Verne on Saturday. Holding the edge in the tiebreaker, Chapman (20-5, 14-2 SCIAC) was awarded the top spot in the conference and will host Cal Lutheran on Thursday with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
There will be no shortage of intensity as the Panthers seek to avenge their loss to the Regals in last year's conference championship game. The two teams appear very well-matched as they split they have split their head-to-head matchups in each of the last two seasons.
Should the Panthers advance, they will play host to either Redlands or Claremont-M-S on Saturday.
#2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps vs. #3 Redlands
CMS has beaten Redlands in both meetings during the regular season. On Jan. 25 the Athenas won by just five points in the low scoring 49-44 win. Junior Kimberly Scamman and senior Madeline Barnes each put up 13 points. CMS was down going into the last minutes of the game when the Athenas went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by a three-pointer by senior Kyra Ray, to win the game.
In the rematch on Feb. 20, the Athenas hosted the Bulldogs and won 55-47. The Athenas maintained their lead throughout the game, allowing Redlands to come within four points once. Scamman had a season-high 28 points bringing up her team who overall had a tough shooting night. Barnes captained the defense with 11 rebounds and added six points herself.
The Athenas' only SCIAC losses during their championship season came from Chapman; otherwise, CMS dominated the conference. This is the seventh regular season title in program history, the first under Coach Dowling in just her second year at the helm.