Women’s basketball wins seventh straight, remains tied for first place

The women’s basketball team won its seventh game in a row Saturday afternoon with an 82-55 home victory over the last-place California Institute of Technology to remain tied for first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

Junior guard Jaime Hum-Nishikado had a big first half, coming off the bench to score 27 points (including seven 3-pointers) to continue the Panthers’ momentum with three games remaining in their season.

“We had a shoot-around earlier today and I felt really prepared,” Hum-Nishikado said. “As a team, we aren’t really even actively aware that we’re on a seven-game winning streak. We just treat every opponent like they’re just like us. We prepared really well and we don’t take any (opponents) for granted.”

The Panthers’ seven straight wins is the longest active streak in the SCIAC right now, but Chapman is no stranger to long winning streaks. Last season, the team also had a seven-game winning streak, followed by one loss and then 10 consecutive SCIAC wins.

Senior guard Megan Charles had 18 points for the Panthers (14-8, 11-2), while 11 other Panthers scored as head coach Carol Jue kept a consistent lineup rotation going throughout the game.

“(Our game plan was) to stay intense on defense and not let their scorers score,” Jue said. “(Caltech senior center) Kate Lewis is very good. We had to stop her.”

Lewis was held to just six points as the Panthers applied extra pressure to her to force the Beavers’ (3-19, 1-12) lower-scoring players to take more shots.

“We had three face guards because (Caltech) has three main girls that they try to get the ball to,”  Charles said. “We tried to keep them from getting the ball and get defensive stops. That allowed our offense to really play in our system. Overall, we did a pretty good job just limiting turnovers, which is something we have to improve on.”

The Panthers will look to maintain first place when they travel to take on Whittier College (6-15, 5-7) on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.

“We’ll apply the same kind of pressure against Whittier (as we did against Caltech),” Jue said. “They have really good athletes. They’re dangerous because they have nothing to lose. When you have nothing to lose, you can beat the better teams that know they have everything to lose.”

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