COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Hamasaki Connects for 23 as Chapman’s Men Take Care of Whittier, 91-77

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ORANGE — Just one game after the Chapman University men’s basket­ball team set season-highs in shoot­ing and points, the Panthers were even better on Dec. 16.

Chapman returned to SCIAC play with a win over visiting Whittier College, 91-77, doing it with red-hot accuracy, shooting 63.6 percent from the field.

Chapman (5-3 overall, 2-1 SCIAC) broke open a tie game at the 12:20 mark in the first half with a 30-8 scoring run that lasted just under 10 minutes and gave the Panthers a 50-28 lead late in the half.

Whittier (3-4 overall, 0-2 SCIAC) was limited to just two field goals during that stretch, while Chapman junior guard Taylor Hamasaki couldn’t miss. In a five-and-a-half-minute span, Hamasaki was 5-for-5 with three three-pointers, helping the Panthers to 69.7 percent shooting in the period including 80 percent (8 of 10) from three-point range. The junior scored 15 of his team-high 23 points in the first half and added three assists and two blocked shots in the game.

Junior guard Colin Zavrsnick and the rest of the Panthers joined in the fun to score 57 first-half points and led by 22 at halftime 57- 33. Zavrsnick poured in 21 points, including four three-pointers, and had three assists, four steals and six rebounds. Setting the table for the Chapman scorers was junior point guard Garrett James, who earned a season-high eight assists.

The presence of Chapman’s front court was also felt in the paint as senior forward Nick Dragovich and junior center John Joyce pitched in 12 and 11 points, respectively, and combined on 10-of-15 shooting.

The Panthers maintained their double-digit lead throughout the second half, leading by as many as 28 at the 13:12 mark of the half and on their way to a season-high 91 points. However, the Poets rallied late to cut the final deficit to 14 points. Whit­tier forward Chris Barnes-Williams scored 17 points in the second half to lead all scorers with 25 in the game, including four three-pointers. Despite the loss, Whittier shot 53.8 percent from the floor.

Chapman hosted UC Santa Cruz, Pacific Lutheran Univer­sity (Wash.) and Occidental College in a round-robin tournament beginning on Dec. 21 at the Hutton Center, the start of four straight (and final) non-conference contests for the Panthers.

Gao Earns Athlete of the Week Honors

Chapman Uni­versity sophomore forward Sandra Gao re­corded her third double-double on the season, scor­ing 18 points while pulling down 12 rebounds in the Panthers’ 66-62 win over Whittier on Dec. 14. Last year’s SCIAC Newcomer of the Year showed her ver­satile talent, adding four assists, two blocked shots and two steals.

Gao, who is averaging just 20.8 points per contest, leads the SCIAC with 20.8 points per game while her 10.2 rebounds rank fourth overall.

On Dec. 18, Gao scored 14 and guard Kimi Takaoka led the Panthers with 22, in a 56-42 win over Oregon Pacific. Lynne Higashigawa added eight points for the Panthers.

–Chapman Sports Information

La Verne Earns Split at Hampton Inn Classic

SANTA CRUZ — The University of La Verne women’s basketball squad split a pair of games at the Hampton Inn Classic III on Dec. 17 and 18.

The Leopards topped Willamette (Ore.) 71-67 in the first day of play before dropping a 68-55 decision to UC Santa Cruz.

The Leos (6-3) jumped out to a big lead over the Bearcats (1-7), starting the game on a 13-2 run before pulling to a 40-28 advan­tage at halftime. Willamette fought back in the second half, taking a 45-44 lead with 12:21 remaining before La Verne slammed the door in the final minutes.

Senior guard/forward Lindsey Foster led the scoring effort with 17 points and recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds. Sophomore cen­ter Emily Myers added 15 points and junior point guard Riki Mu­rakami contributed five assists. The Leopards were held to 31.5 percent (23-73) shooting, but outrebounded the Bearcats 51 to 47 and won the turnover battle 9 to 15.

The Leos faced UC Santa Cruz (8-4) on Wednesday, but took a 68-55 loss after a tie game at the midway point.

La Verne took the lead briefly early in the second half, but were unable to stop a 40-point downpour from the Banana Slugs to seal the match.

The Leopards were sched­uled for a home matchup with visiting Wartburg (Iowa) on Dec. 21.

–La Verne Sports Information

Uyematsu Scores 3 in San Marcos Loss

OCEANSIDE — Heather Thompson registered her third straight double-double, but the Cal State San Marcos women’s basketball team could not keep pace with No. 1 Vanguard on Dec. 17 at MiraCosta Col­lege.

CSUSM (6-9) cut a 14-point first-half deficit to seven with a 7-0 run to make it 35-28 in favor of the Lions (8-0) at the break. However, the Li­ons used a 10-4 run to take a 17-point lead early in the second half that the Cougars could not cut into.

Lindsay Uyematsu had three points with two assists for San Marcos.

Thompson matched VU’s Saman­tha Doucette and Nicole Ballestero with a game-high 19 points. The forward also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

Thompson is the only CSUSM player in team history to record three straight games with double-doubles twice in her career. She accomplished the feat last season from Feb. 14 to Mar. 1, 2013.

CSUSM was set to face Dakota State (6-7) on Dec. 20.

–CSU San Marcos Sports Information

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