Women's Basketball Falls in NCAA First Round
After coming within one second of toppling the Chapman University Panthers in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs Wednesday, the Occidental women’s basketball team eventually lost in overtime, 70-65, in its first-ever postseason appearance.
Senior Brianne Brown, playing in what turned out to be the final game of an outstanding college career, seemingly hit a last-second, game-winning three-pointer in the packed Hutton Sports Center on the Chapman campus. But officials ruled that the game clock had expired before she released the ball, sending the game into overtime.
"We are very proud of our team's accomplishments," Head Coach Heidi VanDerveer said afterwards. "We began the season with the goal of winning a conference championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament, and worked hard to realize those dreams. We built on last year's success, set a high standard for the future, and took a giant step toward establishing a championship culture. It was a great season."
As anticipated, Chapman’s defense was tough, forcing 23 costly Tiger turnovers, which the Panthers converted into 25 points. Occidental was also haunted by second-chance points as Chapman capitalized on 15 offensive rebounds to score 18. Oxy managed to grab 14 offensive boards, but scored just eight points. Missed free-throws down the stretch were also a thorn in the side of the Tigers.
In a see-saw battle in the first half, Chapman used a 15-3 run to open up an 11-point advantage before the Tigers battled back to within a single point with 2:41 to play. Although the Tigers shot 44% from the field, they trailed by six at the half with Chapman leading 35-29.
In the second half, Oxy tied things up at 46-46 on a jumper by Dior Williams ’11 and again moments later on a pair of free-throws from Brown, who finished 8-for-10 from the charity stripe. Chapman (20-8) held a six point lead with 4:37 to play, but the Tigers continued to chip away and Williams sank the front end of two free-throws to knot things up again with 1:13 remaining. Occidental forced a pair of Panthers’ turnovers and missed a couple of opportunities down the stretch sending the game into overtime as Brown’s shot was released just a second too late.
Occidental (22-6) was just 1-for-9 from the field in overtime, while Chapman was 3-for-6. Overall the Tigers made just 63% of their free throws (17-for-27), which was the difference in the game. Chapman was 11-for-17 from the free-throw line.
In the second half, though, Oxy shot 47.6% from the field and held the Panthers to just 32.1%, “winning” the 20-minute period 32-26.
The Tigers were paced by Brown who finished with 21 points, adding seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore Stephanie Babij recorded a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double and Williams also finished in double figures with 12 points. Asha Jordan, who also played in her final game wearing black and orange, finished with 10 rebounds and five points.
Chapman’s Lauren Kamiyama led all players with 24 points and four steals while Linda Ly chipped in with 13 points for the Panthers.
The Panthers will head to Newberg, Ore. to face the No. 2 George Fox (27-0) Bruins on Saturday.