ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University women's basketball continued its historic SCIAC run with a commanding 80-54 win over Whittier (6-10, 3-4 SCIAC) tonight at Hutton Sports Center. The Panthers (11-3, 6-0 SCIAC) are off to their best start in conference play since their inaugural season in 2012.
Sophomore Lucy Criswell continues to have a career-high season as she led Chapman tonight with her first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She also contributed three steals and three blocks against the Poets and continues to lead the Panthers with over one block per game.
A couple of made layups from Criswell and a three pointer from senior Jaime Hum-Nishikado put the Panthers up 11-2 early in the game, but Whittier answered with four points of their own, cutting the lead slightly. Chapman ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run to lead by 11 heading into the second quarter.
The Poets started the second quarter strong, scoring five unanswered points, including back-to-back layups from sophomore Cali Cubel. The Panthers answered right back, as Hum-Nishikado drained one of her four three pointers on the night. Chapman then went on a 13-0 run to take a 23 point lead with just over three minutes left to play in the first half. Whittier drained a three of its own, but Criswell sunk one from downtown and junior Jaryn Fajardo and senior Irma Munoz each made a layup, giving the Panthers a 25 point advantage heading into halftime.
Criswell and Hum-Nishikado sank back-to-back threes to start off the second half, increasing Chapman's lead to 31 points. Freshman Larissa Wu added a layup with two and a half minutes left to play in the quarter, giving the Panthers their largest lead of the game at 36 points.
The fourth quarter saw action for Chapman's reserves. Wu and fellow freshmen Orel Shilon, Camryn Hamaguchi and Taylor Hextrum each made a jumper, helping the Panthers finish strong and defeat the Poets.
Hum-Nishikado finished with 17 points on 4-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Sydney Olivier tallied eight points and six boards off the bench for the Panthers on 4-for-4 shooting. Fajardo is back from injury and continuing to impress as she recorded six points, six assists and four rebounds. Chapman did its job on offense as well as defense, not allowing a single Poet to score in the double digits.
The Panthers return home on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. in the second game of a double header, where both the Chapman men and women will be facing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant