The women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to six games and remains tied for first after its 80-56 home victory against last-place Pomona-Pitzer.
“We needed to keep our intensity up,” said head coach Carol Jue. “They were so close. We were up 7-0 and they came right back. That’s a dangerous team because they do have good players. I think they’re losing games, but they’re right in there in most of the games they’re in.”
Although the first quarter was a closer contest, the game started to slip away from the struggling Sagehens (1-19, 1-11) in the second quarter, with the first half ending with a 44-19 Chapman lead.
The Panthers (13-8, 10-2) had a productive night from deep, scoring 54.5 percent of their 3-pointers. The Sagehens shot 38 percent from the field, and the Panthers almost doubled the Sagehens’ 24 rebounds with 45 rebounds of their own.
“I thought we played intense and I thought we ran our stuff on offense,” Jue said. “On defense, we jumped all over the court, meaning that we rotated all over, which was very good. So either our post was guarding a guard, or our guard was guarding a post.”
Senior guard Lauren Sato scored 16 points and had two rebounds against the Sagehens.
“I feel like (the winning streak) is a curse and a blessing,” Sato said. “It’s a blessing in the sense that we have to keep up that energy and the feeling. At the same time, we can’t lax, we can’t get complacent. I think losing early on was actually good, because we realized that teams aren’t going to roll over for us, so we have to play every game like it’s our last.”
With the end of the season approaching, the postseason is starting to creep into the minds of the players.
“We can’t look past the teams, but this week is definitely a good week to be prepping,” Sato said. “I told the girls to make goals. I feel like this week is a good week to try to accomplish those goals. I think that will carry on into bringing us into the last three games the following week, which are critical. We still have to win every game. We don’t want to settle for anything less than first, and to do that we have to win.”
Although the Panthers are tied for first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), the title might come down to the wire. The Panthers have four games left to get an edge over California Lutheran University. The Regals (14-7, 10-2) went 0-2 in SCIAC play against the Panthers earlier this season.
The Panthers play the California Institute of Technology at home Saturday at 2 p.m.