LA VERNE, Calif. – With a win over host University of La Verne, the Chapman University women's basketball team earned a share of the SCIAC regular season championship, the Panthers' first in any sport in school history. Chapman defeated the Leopards 59-41 on the road to close out the regular season and by virtue of a tiebreaker, the Panthers captured the No. 1 seed in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament which begins on Thursday.
Chapman (20-5 overall, 14-2 SCIAC) used a big second half to earn the victory over La Verne (13-12 overall, 8-8 SCIAC). With the score tied at 18 at halftime and the Panthers' top scorer senior G Kimi Takaoka held scoreless (0-for-7 from the field), Chapman bounced back in the second half to score 41 and took a double-digit lead midway through the half it would not relinquish. Takaoka scored 15 in the period on 6-for-6 shooting.
Sophomore C Sandra Gao led Chapman with 17 points and nine rebounds in the game.
Chapman will share the SCIAC title with co-champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges which defeated Cal Lutheran on Saturday night 60-54 to also finish with a 14-2 record. The Athenas' only two SCIAC losses were to Chapman thus giving the Panthers the top seed in next weekend's postseason tournament.
The Panthers will host No. 4-seed Cal Lutheran (13-12 overall, 9-7 SCIAC) in the first round on Thursday night at Hutton Center for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. Meanwhile, No. 2-seed Claremont will host the No. 3-seed University of Redlands (19-6 overall, 12-4 SCIAC) in the other semifinal game. The winners will meet at the highest seed on Saturday night with the tournament champion earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championships.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director