After wrapping up their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in 28 years, the Occidental women’s basketball team took one step closer Thursday to representing SCIAC in the NCAA Division III playoffs by downing the Cal Lutheran Regals 69-47 in Rush Gymnasium.
Oxy, the top seeded team in SCIAC’s first-ever post-season tournament, never trailed #4 Cal Lutheran in a game that saw senior guard Stacie Roshon reach – and then surpass – 1,500 career points. She finished the night with a game-leading 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a steal, putting her at 1,509 career points and just 22 shy of the all-time Oxy record.
Thursday’s win extends the Tigers’ winning streak to 11, including a 69-65 upset of the previously undefeated, defending conference champions La Verne Leopards. Oxy will host the championship game – a rematch against the Leopards – on Saturday evening. La Verne defeated Redlands 65-60 in Thursday’s other semi-final game.
Occidental improves to 21-5 while the Regals’ season ends at 13-12, 8-7.
The Tigers never trailed on Thursday, jumping out to a 15-2 lead and enjoying as much as a 17-point advantage in the first half. Transfer stand-out Brianne Brown bounced back from an ankle injury, scoring 12 points and making six steals in just 20 minutes of play.
In the second half, the Regals chipped away at the Tigers’ lead, cutting the deficit to just three at 48-45 with 8:14 to play. But Roshon sparked a run of four consecutive three-pointers, and the Tigers quickly capitalized on back-to-back Regals turnovers coupled with a block by junior forward Asha Jordan.
Sophomore guard Britinee Yasukochi hit a long three on a feed from Roshon before Laura Mohler ’10 hit back-to-back three pointers on passes from Samantha Rossi ’10, putting Oxy up 62-45 with 5:24 to play. Mohler finished with 10 points and led all players with eight assists.
Oxy’s offense shot 44 percent from the field overall, hitting on 22 of 50 shots and posting a 44.4 three-point field goal percentage. The Tiger defense held the Regals scoreless for over seven minutes in the second half until Katelyn Harrison scored the final CLU basket of the night with 44 seconds remaining. CLU shot just 28.3 percent from the field in the game (15-53).
Cal Lutheran held the rebounding advantage 35-31, grabbing 14 offensive boards while the Tigers managed to pull down just six. Mary Placido capped off her collegiate career with a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds for CLU. Nita Sims, Maggie Neville and Harrison each added eight points for the Regals.
Tip-off in Saturday’s championship game in Rush Gymnasium will take place at either 5:00 or 7:30 p.m. depending on the outcome of tonight’s first-round men’s SCIAC Post-Season Tournament game between the #1 Tigers and #4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.