With the second half of its season underway, the women’s basketball team defeated fourth-place Redlands 72-69 Wednesday to extend its winning streak to four games.
Chapman sophomore guard Jaryn Fajardo helped cement the win over the Bulldogs (9-10, 6-4) with her 22 points, six assists and seven rebounds. The Panthers (11-8, 8-2) remain tied for second with California Lutheran University (12-7, 8-2) in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).
“Every game is going to be very important,” said head coach Carol Jue. “If we can take care of our own, we can take care of business and hopefully be the No. 1 seed.”
The Panthers got off to a quick start, ending the first quarter with a 17-11 lead. The Panthers kept the lead for most of the game despite the Bulldogs’ improved play in the second half. Senior guards Megan Charles and Lauren Sato had 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Defense was key for the Panthers, who scored 20 points from the Bulldogs’ turnovers.
“Our defense has been on point these last few games, which translates to our offense,” said junior guard Jaime Hum-Nishikado. “When we are getting stops and causing turnovers, it gets our offense going and more people are open to score while the opponents are still frazzled.”
The Panthers specifically applied the pressure to Redlands key players junior forward Reyna Ta’amu and senior guard Jade Cheldelin.
With this win, the Panthers complete their sweep over the Bulldogs this season and carry energy into the tail end of their season.
“To keep up this momentum, we just need to stick to what we do best, which is press teams, cause turnovers and convert those into buckets,” Hum-Nishikado said. “We play a very fast-paced game that a lot of teams have a hard time keeping up with. Because we are undersized, we have a hard time getting rebounds. We still need to work on team box-outs so that the other team doesn’t get second chance shots to score.”
The Panthers travel to the University of La Verne on Saturday at 2 p.m. to play against the Leopards, who Chapman beat 79-58 at their last matchup Jan. 4.