Author: Gil Alcaraz
The Occidental women’s basketball team has started off the season on the right foot, earning itself a 4-2 record in its first six games. With a talented starting lineup and a solid group of backups, the Lady Tigers have had a successful season thus far and are preparing for a tough SCIAC schedule down the stretch.
The first game of the season against La Sierra University was one to remember for the Tigers. There were two players who scored in double digits and every player who suited up for the game not only played, but scored at least two points. The leading scorer was guard Brittany Mally (senior), who had 15 points on the game, as well as six rebounds. She also made four of her five three-point shots. The Lady Tigers put the La Sierra Eagles to shame, winning the game 94-36.
After their first shellacking of La Sierra, the women went into their next game with high hopes for another win against Westmont College. Unfortunately, the 18th nationally ranked Warriors of Westmont were too much for the Tigers to handle as they capitalized on a 10-point halftime lead to win the game 89-75.
The next week, they faced the Panthers of Chapman University at home in hopes of bringing their record to 2-1, and they succeeded. With the help of Laura Mohler’s (junior) 19 points and Makenzie Brandon’s (first-year) 12 rebounds, the Tigers were able to hold off the Panthers with a score of 79-69.
Four days later, Rush Gym was host to the Fontbonne University Griffins. With an outstanding performance and a season-high scoring effort by Oxy – which included five players who put up double digits and seven assists by guard Stephanie Babij (junior) – the Tigers came away with a decisive victory, 95-74. The leading scorer for the night was guard Samantha Rossi (senior) with 17 points.
This past weekend, the Lady Tigers participated in the annual Tiger-Poet Classic tournament. For the first game of the tournament, which was played at Whittier College, the Tigers took on the Willamette University Bearcats.
The Tigers jumped out to a 16-0 lead to start the game, but were soon overwhelmed by a Bearcat run that brought the score to 38-30 at halftime. After halftime, the Tigers took the momentum and kept it for the rest of the game, moving their record to 4-1 with an 80-60 victory over the Bearcats.
On the second day of the tournament, held at Occidental’s Rush Gym, the Tigers faced an Oregon opponent, Lewis and Clark University. Although Mohler, Babij, and Dior Williams (junior) had 13, 13, and 12 points, respectively, Oxy struggled to hold off the emphatic Lewis and Clark team. The Tigers were unable to come back from a 39-29 halftime deficit, losing to the Pioneers by a score of 70-59. That game capped off the tournament, leaving the Tigers with a 1-1 record at the tournament’s end.
Currently holding a 4-2 overall record, the Tigers are hoping to prolong their success. When asked how she felt her team has been doing up to this point, Coach Heidi VanDerveer responded, “We’ve been doing really well. We’ve had some really good games in which we won and I feel that we’ve done well even in the games we haven’t won,” she said. “Some girls are stepping up and filling in roles that need to be filled.”So far, the Tigers have played solid basketball and have lived up to their expectations of an outstanding season. In the four games they have won, they have averaged a winning margin of over 25 points.
The Lady Tigers are looking strong in non-conference play and should be well-prepared when time comes to take on conference foes such as the Cal Lutheran Regals or the Clarement-Mudd-Scripps Athenas.
The next game is on Dec. 13 against UC Santa Cruz at 1 p.m. in Rush Gym.
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