Austyn Masuno scored 16 points and Grace Florendo made back-to-back clutch baskets in the final 1:01 to turn a one-point deficit into a three-point lead, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s basketball team, playing for the first time in three weeks, held off host Occidental for a 74-69 win on Saturday.
With the win, CMS gets back level in SCIAC play at 2-2, while improving to 4-8 overall after a difficult non-conference schedule that included 10-0 NYU, 10-1 Whitman and 8-2 UC Santa Cruz, among others. Occidental slips to 4-4 overall, and 1-2 in league play with the loss.
CMS led for almost the entire second half after trailing by four at the break, but Occidental took a 69-68 lead with 1:17 to go on a drive my Maylene Hughes.
Florendo came back at the other end, though, with a baseline drive to give CMS back the lead with 1:01 to play. Masuno then had a key block at the other end, and Florendo was able to knock down a short bank shot on the fast break to give CMS a 72-69 advantage with 45 seconds left. Occidental missed a three-pointer to tie, and Kayla Ishibashi sealed the win with a pair of foul shots with six seconds left
CMS led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, before Occidental briefly took a one-point lead, Eliza Friend scored inside the paint, and Jacey Carter hit a big three-pointer to push the lead to four. Mary Markaryan then got a big offensive rebound off a missed foul shot and converted to put CMS back ahead by five at 66-61. Occidental got it back to 66-65 before Ishibashi had a driving layup with 2:05 to go, and the Tigers scored the next four points to take another brief one-point lead, before Florendo swung the lead back to the Athenas for good.
CMS maintained a 49- 45 lead after three quarters, and Elizabeth Howell-Egan started the fourth with a three-point play to give the Athenas their largest lead of the afternoon at seven points (52-45). Occidental answered with a three-pointer before the Tigers knotted the score back up at 54-54 with a 6-0 run.
The Athenas never led in the first half but never let Occidental pull away and trailed by just four at intermission. CMS faced a 6-0 deficit before the game was a minute old and fell behind 18-10 late in the opening frame, before an 8-0 run tied it up. Ishibashi hustled to break up an Occidental fast break attempt and was fouled, hitting both, and Masuno capped off the quarter with a driving layup to make it an 18-14 game, and then scored the first two baskets of the second quarter to tie it at 18-18.
Masuno also had eight rebounds, Ishibashi scored 13 points (including 6-6 at the line), and Florendo had 12 points for the Athenas.
CMS was back in action on Monday against Whittier, before entertaining Cal Lutheran on Wednesday.
— Courtesy CMS Athletics