CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Women's Basketball Team took a close loss to Willamette University on Tuesday night at Voelkel Gym, falling by a tight margin 65-63. The Sagehens battled through an up-and-down performance, dealing with a Bearcats side that equally struggled with finding consistency on both ends of the floor. The Sagehens came alive in the fourth quarter when they came back from a nine-point deficit, but it was not enough as the Bearcats hanged on. Carly Leong had a career-high 26 points for the Sagehens, with 17 points all coming in the final quarter, while Keilani Ikehara had three steals and four assists. The Bearcats saw a standout performance from Britanny Kochenderfer who led the team with 15 points and 19 rebounds.
Season Impact: The Sagehens are now 1-2 overall this season after the loss.
Trailing 8-5 in the first period, the Sagehens managed to tie the game after Amara Chidom kicked out a pass to Cameron Edward who then fired a step-back three-pointer to tie the game with 2:47 left. Later, Ikehara missed a midrange jumper but grabbed her own rebound. Swarmed by a double-team under the basket, Ikehara saw an open Vanessa Hsia cut to the basket and fed her for an easy layup. With less than 10 seconds on the clock, Kamil English drove in for a layup to give the Sagehens a 12-11 lead.
Kochenderfer sparked the Bearcats to an 8-0 run in the second quarter as they took a 19-12 lead. However, a driving layup by Leong followed by a fastbreak layup off a steal by Ikehara cut the deficit 19-16. Later as the Sagehens trailed 21-20, Renae Tamura broke through with an and-one layup to take a 23-21 lead with 3:30 remaining. The two teams traded baskets, but the Sagehens closed the half with a 27-26 lead after Madison Quan drove and kicked a nice pass to Leong for a layup.
The Bearcats made a quick turnaround in the third quarter as 5-0 run gave them a 31-27 lead. After both teams went scoreless for a three-minute span, Willamette added to their tally with a layup from Elizabeth Logsdon. Amara Chidom finally broke the drought after scoring a putback off a rebound with 5:17 left in the quarter to cut the lead 33-29. Trailing 38-31 with 2:25 left, Hsia managed to get in the paint and laid the ball off the glass to cut it 38-33. She followed up on the next possession with another layup to put the Sagehens within one possession. The two sides traded baskets, but the Bearcats extended their lead with a buzzer-beating three from long distance by Amanda Carpenter to put them up 45-39.
The Sagehens responded with a strong start to the final quarter as they cut the lead 45-43 with 7:16 remaining. However, the Bearcuts pulled away with a 6-0 run to lead 52-43. The Sagehens tried to muster a comeback as they were down 62-54 as Leong converted a three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining. She later got fouled at the three-point line and made three free throws. However, the Bearcats made most of their final possession, hitting their free throws to seal the game.
Up Next: The Sagehens will play again this Friday, November 23 as they host The College in New Jersey at 7:00 p.m. for the Wells Classic.