Women’s Basketball Qualifies for NCAA Tournament After SCIAC Triumph

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Author: Larissa Saco

The Women’s Basketball team won the 2011 SCIAC championship during the Post Season Tournament on Feb. 26. The Tigers defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 55-49 at Rush Gymnasium, making it to the NCAA playoffs.

This is the fourth consecutive SCIAC title for the Tigers, who ended the season with a record of 12 wins and two losses. “It feels great, still a little unreal,” guard Stephanie Scamman (sophomore) said.

Camaraderie and chemistry displayed on and off the court were vital in making it to playoffs. “I know that the complete trust and faith I hold in my teammates is reflected in the way we play in games,” guard Michelle Lo (first-year) said.

Scrimmages with the men’s team also played a part in the women’s victory. “Our men’s practice team who comes in during their free time has helped us to improve tremendously since the beginning of the season,” Lo said.

All players played a significant role in making the season a success, even those who played little. “Not enough can be said about the girls who don’t see the court as much—they constantly push us in practice so that when we play in games we are fully prepared for the other team,” Lo said.

Despite the many obstacles that could have gotten in the way of the team’s victory, they managed to overcome them. Captain Makenzie Brandon (sophomore) suffered an illness at the beginning of the season and had to be hospitalized.

The team Skyped with her during winter break and were thrilled when they found out she was able to play again soon after the season began. “Her illness put basketball into perspective for me, because I realized how fortunate I was to be playing basketball with a group of girls I respect and love,” Lo said.

Throughout their final SCIAC game everyone felt in sync with one another, while the leaders urged the team on with their energy. “I love it when my teammates start to go on a rally and get pumped, we all just feel more in tuned with each other,” Scamman said.

After their victory, the team showed their excitement as they cut down the nets before the spectators at the end of the game. “It’s a basketball tradition, when you win a championship you get to cut down the nets and each member of the team gets to take home a piece as a token of that achievement” captain Stephanie Babij (senior) said.

The women’s basketball playoff bracket was announced on Feb. 28 by the NCAA. Occidental is set to compete with George Fox University at Chapman University on March 4. “For the future, its one game at a time… to get ready and prepare for the first round,” Scamman said.

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