The Sagehen Report: Week of February 20
This week in Pomona-Pitzer athletics saw the men’s basketball team clinch a bid to the SCIAC Tournament with its best performance of the year, the lone women’s basketball senior end her Sagehen career on a high note in her final home game, and the lone women’s lacrosse senior put on an epic performance in her first home game of 2012.
The Men’s Basketball team missed a chance to clinch a SCIAC bid on Wednesday when it lost 57-55 at home to Occidental on a basket with 3.2 seconds left in regulation. The Sagehens still controlled their own destiny, needing one win in its final two games to get into the postseason, but the final two games were against second-place Whittier at home, and first-place Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the road. Facing the pressure of needing to defend its home court against Whittier to avoid the possibility of making the road game at CMS a must-win game, the Sagehens rolled to a 79-58 win to punch their playoff ticket.
The box score was remarkably balanced with five players scoring between 10-13 points, but the play of Donald Okpalugo ‘13 was pivotal for the Sagehens. Okpalugo had 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, and changed the game in the final three minutes of the first half with seven points and two blocks to help turn a 24-22 lead into a 35-26 advantage at the break. Jake Klewer ‘14, who had his nose broken on the game-ending play against Occidental on Wednesday, played with a plastic mask and contributed a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. John Weiss ’14 had 12 points on 5-5 shooting, and Jack Klukas ’15 added 13 points on 4-6 shooting for the Sagehens.
The Men’s Basketball team will close out the regular season with its rivalry game at CMS on Tuesday night at 7:30 and then face a rematch with Whittier on Friday (site to be determined after Tuesday’s games). Video streaming of both games can be found on www.sagehens.com.
Earlier in the day, the Women’s Basketball team sent its lone senior out in style with a 73-67 win over Whittier. Asha Gipson ‘12 played in her final collegiate contest and amassed 16 points (all of which came in the second half), 14 rebounds and five assists. Gipson, who stands just 5-7, finished the year averaging 9.0 rebounds per game, fourth in the SCIAC, and had double-doubles in the final three games of her career, including 10 points and 10 rebounds against CMS on Thursday, and 15 points and 10 rebounds against La Verne last Saturday.
Martha Marich ’12 led the nation in scoring as a sophomore for the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Lacrosse team (113 goals), but had her junior year cut short by an ACL injury. This year, she is the only upperclassman on a team that has nine freshmen and five sophomores on its 15-player roster, and she led the way in a 26-18 win over Whittier in its home opener on Saturday by scoring a whopping 11 goals. She scored her 11 goals on only 15 shots as she consistently was able to break down the Whittier defense. After the Poets rallied back from a five-goal deficit to tie the game 15-15 in the second half, Marich broke the tie to start a 4-0 run and send the Sagehens on to victory. Pomona-Pitzer will face Redlands on the road on Wednesday and Occidental at home on Saturday (1 p.m.) this week.
Nick Gentili ’13 continued his torrid hitting for the Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team in helping the Sagehens roll to a three-game sweep over Caltech by final scores of 17-1, 19-0 and 12-1. Gentili batted 8-for-10 on the weekend, improving his average to .643 (18-for-28) on the season with 15 RBI in only eight games played. The Sagehens also got strong pitching over the weekend, as Travis Rooke-Ley PI ’12 improved to 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA by allowing only one run in the opener, Jake Bruml ’15 moved to 2-0 with an 0.82 ERA by allowing only one hit and striking out nine in the second game, and Guy Stevens ’13 picking up his first win of the year in the series finale. The Baseball team will be at home on Friday (2:30 p.m.) against Cal Lutheran, before traveling to Thousand Oaks for a doubleheader with the Kingsmen on Saturday.
Swimming and Diving got the SCIAC Championships underway on Sunday, the first of three days of competition at the event. Max Scholten ’12 came in second in the 50-yard freestyle, the third straight year he has finished a close second to Redlands All-American Tyler Harp in that event. Scholten will compete in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke this week as he looks to defend his SCIAC titles in those events. Pomona-Pitzer also came in second place in three different relays: the 200-yard freestyle for both men and women, and the 400-yard women’s medley. Live results can be found at the SCIAC Tournament home page at www.sagehens.com and live updates will be on Twitter.
Track and Field got its season underway with the Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers meet, and the Sagehens had some encouraging results. Anders Crabo ’12 came in fourth in the 3000 meters, but first among Division III competitors on the men’s side. Katie Barton ’15 won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:08.11, and Kathleen Shea ’12 won her section of the mile (5:34.90), making her one of the top 10 milers in program history.
The Softball team fell on the short end of a doubleheader with defending SCIAC champion Redlands on Saturday, but will be back home this Saturday for a doubleheader against Occidental as it looks to get back on track in the SCIAC. The Men’s and Women’s Golf teams have their second SCIAC 18-hole competition on Thursday, while the Men’s Tennis team travels to Minnesota to compete in the ITA Indoor Nationals.