ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University women's basketball team sprinted out to an early lead and never trailed in a 64-54 win over visiting Elmhurst. Senior Jaryn Fajardo led the Panthers (3-0) with a near triple-double in the home-opener.
Fajardo scored 15 points, distributed nine assists, grabbed eight rebounds and swiped four steals in the win. Junior Lucy Criswell scored 17 points with seven boards and four blocks.
The Panthers high-pressure defense limited the Bluejays to just two points on 1-for-10 shooting in the first quarter. Elmhurst committed seven of its 16 turnovers in the opening 10 minutes and were never able to recover from the early deficit.
Elmhurst cut into the lead with 22 points in the second quarter while holding Chapman to just 15 to make 32-24 at the half. Kellee Clay's bucket to open the scoring in the second half cut the lead to just six points at 32-26 but that is as close as the Bluejays would get the rest of the way.
Fajardo knocked down a free throw on the Panthers' next trip down the floor to push the lead to seven. Criswell swatted one of her four blocks on the defensive end and dropped in a layup on the other end to push the lead comfortably back to nine points.
The Panthers continued on a 16-3 run over the next three minutes to push the lead back into double digits. With a 19-point lead by the end of the third quarter, the lead reached as many as 22 points when Criswell knocked down her last of three three-pointers of the afternoon to make it 59-37.
The Bluejays scored the last 11 points of the games in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter to pull back within 10 points when the final buzzer sounded. Chapman shot 49 percent in the contest and sunk 5-of-8 three-point tries. Sophomore Camryn Hamaguchi added in 10 points while freshman Julianna Campas scored seven off the bench.
Elmhurst shot 34.6 percent in the game but made just 6-of-21 three-point attempts. Mia Riese led the team with 10 points off the bench.
The Panthers remain home and open up the early portion of the SCIAC schedule with matchup against Occidental at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director