ORANGE, Calif. – A season-high point total for freshman Brittany McPherson led the Chapman University women's basketball team to a 99-72 win over visiting La Verne on Saturday. The Panthers (20-3, 14-0 SCIAC) won their 14th game in a row and poured in a season-high point total.
With both teams applying early pressure and pushing the pace, the points began pouring in early. Chapman scored over 20 points in each quarter and was led by a 23-point night from McPherson and a 10-assist night from sophomore Paige Endo.
The Panther never trailed in the game but La Verne (5-18, 3-11 SCIAC) trailed by just six points after the first quarter. Chapman began the second quarter on a 13-0 run and never let La Verne back in the game as both teams continued to push the pace.
Chapman took advantage of the fast-paced game by forcing La Verne into 34 turnovers while committing just 11. The Panthers held a 43-10 advantage in points off turnovers to key the blowout victory. All 15 players on the Panthers roster scored at least 2 points.
For the third time this year, the Panthers swiped 20-plus steals but came away with a season-best 24 against La Verne. McPherson had six steals as did sophomore Lucy Criswell to lead the defensive effort. Criswell added 14 points and six rebounds to her stat line while McPherson also had five rebounds. Sophomore Marissa Dunn scored 11 points off the bench with four rebounds in 17 minutes.
The Panthers shot 48 percent on the night while taking 89 shots – also a season-high. They took 27 more shots than La Verne and held the Leopards to 38 percent shooting. Kristi Sakamoto sung five three-pointers to lead the Leopards with 15 points. Clarissa Perez also had 15 points.
After taking a 17-point lead into halftime, Chapman forced 13 turnovers in the third quarter alone to continue to build the lead. However, Sakamoto hit four of her five triples in the quarter to fuel a 23-point period for La Verne. However, Chapman continued to pour in the points in the fourth and La Verne couldn't keep pace as the Panthers ran away with the game. Chapman's bench combined to shoot 10-for-15 in the final period as everyone got on the board.
The Panthers play their final home game of the season on Wednesday when they take on Occidental at 7 p.m. The Panthers seniors will be honored prior to tip off.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director