Making its first appearance in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament, second-seeded Pomona-Pitzer clinched the program's first league tournament crown Saturday with a 60-57 win over top-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) on the campus of the Athenas.
With the win, Pomona-Pitzer improves to 22-5 overall and earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. CMS (24-3) will await a possible at-large selection to the NCAA tournament. The selection show is Monday, February 25 at 11:30 a.m. on NCAA.com.
In a back-and-forth first half of action, Pomona-Pitzer led by as many as six when Amara Chidom hit a jumper at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter to give the Sagehens a 14-8 lead. After a period of action Pomona-Pitzer held a slim 15-14 advantage.
In the second stanza, CMS battled back and outscored the Sagehens, 11-9 to take a 25-24 lead at intermission. With 41 seconds left in the frame, Maya Love made a pair of free throws to give the Athenas the one-point cushion which it took into halftime.
Renae Tamura led the way for Pomona-Pitzer with seven first half points, while Keilani Ikehara and Carly Leong followed with five each. Gloria Bates led CMS with six points, while Love and Corinne Bogle notched four each. Chidom led all players with seven first half rebounds, CMS's Kate Parrish pulled down five.
In the third quarter, Pomona-Pitzer scored the opening five points of the second half to post a four-point 29-25 lead highlighted by a swish from three-point range from Ikehara. CMS answered by scoring the next 10 points to regain the lead at 35-29 on a bucket underneath by Love.
After a late rally by Pomona-Pitzer that saw Ikehara swish a pair of treys, the Athenas and Sagehens headed to the fourth knotted at 36-36.
After the teams continued to battle in the fourth, Keilani made a pair of free throws to give Pomona-Pitzer a 58-53 lead with 19 seconds to play in regulation. Bates then canned a pair from the charity stripe to pull CMS to within four at 58-54, and then Love swished a clutch stike from beyond-the-arc to narrow the lead to 58-57 with three ticks on the clock. From there, Ikehara closed out the game with a pair of free throws to seal the 60-57 win.
Ikehara finished with 16 points and was named the SCIAC Tournament MVP. Leong and Tamura follwoed with 15 and 12 points respectively, while Chidom pulled in 11 boards.
Love notched a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Bates added 13 points off the bench in the losing effort.