Poets threaten Chapman in home finale

Poets threaten Chapman in home finale

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Basketball team threatened the undefeated Chapman University Panthers Wednesday night inside of the Graham Athletic Center but couldn't pull off the win as they fell 59-50. 

It was a tight game throughout and the Purple & Gold had their opportunities but they couldn't capitalize.  They forced 20 Panther turnovers but were only able to convert 11 points off of them, while Chapman induced 24 turnovers by Whittier turning them into 18 extra points, which proved the difference down the stretch.

The Poets shared the ball nicely in the first quarter getting points from five different players, which included six from Kelsi Ikeda (Honolulu, HI) keeping the score at 15-14 in favor of CU.  But in the second period Chapman was able to hold Whittier to single digits, while stretching their lead to 30-23 at the break. 

In the third, Whittier put together a nice defensive stand holding the Panthers scoreless over the first seven minutes but were only able to put up two points themselves during that stretch.  Chapman finally got points on the board with 3:04 to play in the frame with Lucy Criswell knocking down a three-pointer and she then added another less than a minute later that swung the momentum.  Whittier tried to keep the game close as Ikeda knocked down two free throws, while Daisy Cardenas (Santa Clarita, Calif.) converted a triple that kept the margin at eight but as time expired, Criswell would sink another three-pointer giving her 9 of Chapman's 11 points during the quarter.

In the fourth the Poets fought back outscoring the Panthers 20-18 with Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.) going off for 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.  Cubel added an opening triple and layin that moved the score to 41-35 with 8:05 to play but back-to-back three-pointers from Criswell and Jaime Hum-Nishhikado would stretch the lead back to double digits.  The Poets continued to find offense but in the latter stages of the game Chapman was able to respond matching the Poets basket for basket.

Ikeda had a career high 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting with three steals.  Cubel totaled 13 points going 5-for-7 from the field and Monica Hanna (Bellflower, Calif.) led the rebounding effort with eight boards and four points.             

Whittier shot 41% from the field and 29% from three-point territory.  They were outrebounded a mere 34-32 but saw a season low 40% come from the free-throw line where they were 4-10.    

Whittier (9-14, 6-8 SCIAC) has two road games remaining on their schedule beginning with Occidental this Saturday, February 10 beginning at 4:00pm.