ORANGE —The Chapman University women’s basketball team held off a second half comeback from visiting  La Verne on Jan. 16, defeating the Leopards by a score of 78-68.

Kimi Takaoka, Riki Murakami
Kimi Takaoka, Riki Murakami

The Panthers’ sixth win in their last seven contests against La Verne moves them in to a three-way tie for first place in the SCIAC standings.

Senior guard Kimi Takaoka, who was named SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week on Jan. 14, scored 18 points in the contest, taking sole possession of fifth place on the Panthers’ all-time scoring leaderboard.

Pushing her career tally to 1,280, Takaoka passed Caroline Jensen (’04) and is poised to eclipse Melody Earle (’95) for fourth place, needing just 55 total points with 10 games remaining.

The game began as a back-and-forth contest and was tied at 12-12 when the Panthers went on an 11-0 run in just over a three-minute span, taking a 23-13 lead. A pair of late three-pointers from junior guard Andrea Villanueva and Takaoka spurred an 8-1 run, giving the Panthers a 40-24 lead entering halftime.

The Panthers built a 50-30 second-half lead, but the Leopards roared back with an offensive surge led by center Emily Myers. The sophomore, who scored all 17 of her points in the second half on 6-of-9 shooting, brought the Leopards to within five points with just over four minutes left on the clock.

The comeback was halted by Villanueva, who secured the win for the Panthers by scoring nine of her game-high 20 points in the final five minutes of the contest.

Riki Murakami scored four points for La Verne, who were back in action Jan. 18 against Whittier.

Chapman was back on the hard court Jan. 18 as they played host to the Occidental Tigers. The matchup, which followed the men’s game with a 7 p.m. tip-off, marked the first meeting between the two teams this season.Oxy got eight points from Tiffany Kho and six from Erin Matsumoto on Jan. 16 in a 56-47 win over visiting Pomona-Pitzer. Kacie Hitomi added two points off the bench for the Sagehens.

–Chapman/La Verne Sports Information

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