CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Basketball Team took a close loss to Whittier College in their opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match 69-65. The Sagehens had the advantage after the first quarter, leading 18-14, but a strong second quarter by the Poets in the second quarter along with solid defensive play led to Whittier's victory.
Season Impact: The SCIAC loss gives the Sagehens a 1-3 record overall and 0-1 in conference. Meanwhile the Poets improve to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the SCIAC.
First year Emma Godfrey scored 30 or more points for the second time this season, leading the team with 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds while junior Anita Romero added 13 points and five rebounds. Teani White led the Poets with 20 points and four rebounds while Cali Cubel scored 18 points.
The Sagehens caught their momentum in the first quarter as Godfrey scored four points during a 6-0 run to take an 8-2 lead. With 3:26 remaining, the Poets clawed their way back to cut the lead 8-6, but a timely 3-pointer by Alexa Bayangos off a pass from Keilani Ikehara helped the Hens extend their lead.
After Godfrey converted a free throw in the second quarter to make it 22-18 for the Hens, the Poets responded with a 3-pointer by Kaitlin Eells and a layup from Kellie Ogata to take their first lead of the game. The two teams traded baskets for majority of the quarter, and after Godfrey hit the go-ahead layup after an offensive rebound, Cubel responded with a 3-pointer with 1:13 left in the half to give the Poets a 33-32 lead. A free throw by White gave the Poets the upper hand at the end of the half.
The Poets began to find their groove on offense at the start of the second half, moving the ball to open players and forcing turnovers on the defensive end. Whittier built a 42-34 lead with 8:01 left in the third quarter. The Hens refused to back down and battled back in streaky fashion. With 4:52 remaining in the third, Godfrey worked her way to the line, drawing contact and making free throws. She led an 8-0 run, scoring five of the points from the charity stripe to bring the deficit down to 48-46. The Hens trailed 51-49 after the third.
Bayangos grabbed the offensive board off Godfrey's miss in the fourth quarter and laid it back in to tie the game at 51 apiece. However, the Poets broke out with a 9-0 run to take back the lead. Anita Romero sparked a big run for the Sagehens, putting in work inside the key for eight points during a 10-0 run to take back the lead 61-60. In the final two minutes, the two teams were neck-and-neck as each basket made carried more weight than the last. Trailing once again, 65-63, the Hens tied the game thanks to a follow-up jumper off Bayangos' miss. However, Cubel took back the lead with 17 seconds left off a layup. Following the timeout, Renae Tamura missed the ensuing jumper, but Godfrey grabbed the board and attempted the follow-up shot. Unfortunately, it fell short as Whittier secured the rebound and went on the win the game.
Up Next: The Sagehens will fly over to St. Louis, Missouri for the McWilliams Tournament hosted by Washington University in St. Louis. They will face Austin College on Friday, December 1 at 3:00 p.m. PST.