Whittier upsets Chapman 52-49

Whittier upsets Chapman 52-49

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Basketball team pulled off their biggest win on the season Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd inside the Graham Athletic Center upsetting Chapman University 52-49.

The Purple & Gold avenged their loss to the Panthers from two weeks ago where they fell 85-60.  The victory also throws a wrinkle in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Standings as Whittier improves to 8-10, 5-6 SCIAC, which places them in 5th place within the conference standings. 

The win also made history for the Whittier College Women's Basketball team as they pulled off the first victory against Chapman University since 2012-13.  Coming into tonight's game, Whittier was 0-13.

Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.) led Whittier on offense finishing with 13 points to go with four boards and three steals.  Teani White (Burbank, Calif.) ran the point and added 11 points with eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.  Zaria Branch (San Diego, Calif.) came off the bench in a supportive role and played 17 minutes adding nine points, while going 4-for-6 from the field and Daisy Cardenas (Santa Clarita, Calif.) registered seven points.

Whittier shot 30.3% from the field and 20% from three-point territory.  The rebounding was deadlocked at 39-39, but inside Whittier controlled the paint outscoring Chapman 32-16, while earning 23 points off turnovers.  But the story of the night was the Poets defense holding the high powered Panther offense to just 30% shooting and an 18.8% clip from behind the arc.  The 49 points for Chapman was a season low as they saw just two players record double digit efforts. 

The game included six ties and seven lead changes.  After putting up just nine points in the first quarter, Whittier came out strong outscoring CU 17-8 in the second and then 15-14 in the third.  Over the final ten minutes, Chapman made a push and threatened late but couldn't complete the comeback as Whittier put up 11 points to pull off the stunner. 

It was a game of opportunities for the Purple & Gold who controlled every facet, taking it to the Panthers all night but seeing a number of shots not drop, despite having great looks.  Whittier turned things around in the second stringing together nine in a row, which included a pair of Branch lay-ins, two Cubel free-throws and a Cardenas triple that erased a seven point CU lead.  With under two minutes to play Branch put up another lay-in off a steal and was followed by a Cubel lay-up, two White free throws and a kiss off the glass from Emily Guerena (Montebello, Calif.) that put the Poets on top 26-22 at the break.

Chapman pulled within one to start things off in the third but Whittier was able to counter with a 6-1 run that stretched their lead back to six with 4:53 to play.  CU then put on a tough press that forced some Whittier turnovers allowing them to get back into the contest as they scored five in a row to again pull within one.  White was able to stop the run with a three-pointer and then picked up another lay-in off a steal to end the frame, giving the Poets a five-point lead.

In the fourth Chapman battled back to regain a lead at 45-44 following three free-throws from Jaryn Fajardo, but that was the last time they would lead as Whittier would add back to back lay-ups from Shaeleigh Wright (Long Beach, Calif.) and Cardenas that pushed the score to 48-45 with 3:06 to play. 

Chapman got within one at 49-48 after an and one by Lucy Criswell but over the final two minutes Whittier was able to lock down on the defensive end allowing just one free-throw, while securing the win thanks to Branch and Cubel knocking down three free-throws.           

Whittier remains at home this Wednesday, January 30 as they host the University of La Verne beginning at 7:00pm.  The last time these two teams met, Whittier won 66-41.