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Tenacious Defense Leads the Way for Athenas

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas improved to 12-3 overall and 2-2 in conference, as they defeated the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 79-57 on Thursday night in Ducey Gymnasium.

The game was held close through most of the first half as the Sagehens countered the fierce CMS defense by aggressively driving to the basket and drawing fouls. The score was knotted up at 21 with a few minutes remaining in the first half, as Pomona-Pitzer capitalized on nine of their 10 free throw attempts early. CMS inserted Cameron Ruby (FR, San Francisco [pictured]) who sparked a big momentum shift after entering the game. Her impact was immediate as she made three consecutive steals (and five on the game), which ignited the entire Athena team. The Athenas ended the half on an 11-3 run as a part of their bigger 29-4 run to put away the game.

The Athenas opened the second half the same way as they ended the first half, with a barrage of scoring while shooting extremely efficiently. In the second half, the Athenas shot 55.9% from the field on 19-34 shooting. Five different CMS players scored in double figures led by Aria Krumwiede (JR, Scottsdale, AZ) who scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting from the field, 3-4 from long range, and 5 assists. Jennifer Ringoen (JR, San Mateo) also played extremely well, scoring 14 points on 6-12 shooting while filling up the charts with 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks, and 2 assists. Kalika Tullock (JR, Middleton, ID), Ruby, and Taylon Johnson (JR, Prairie Village, KS) also added 13, 12, and 10 respectively.

More impressive than the offense was the ferocious Athena defense, as they forced 29 turnovers. Nine different CMS players recorded a steal, as the Athenas swiped the ball 19 times in the contest. Their full court press, trap defense, and aggressive man-to-man defense was relentless and forced not only turnovers, but also bad shot attempts by the Sagehens.

The CMS Athenas go on the road to face Caltech on January 22nd and La Verne on the 27th before returning home again to face Redlands on Saturday, January 29.

These two teams will face-off again to close the regular season on February 22nd at Pomona's Rains Center.

--  Drew Beckerman