Lindsey Cleary's Last-Second Basket Gives CMS Women's Basketball 88-86 Road Win over Cal Lutheran

Katelynn Nguyen had a career-high 22, shooting 8-9 from the floor (photo by Daniel Addison)
Katelynn Nguyen had a career-high 22, shooting 8-9 from the floor (photo by Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior Lindsey Cleary scored the go-ahead basket off a baseline inbounds pass with one second left, and junior guard Katelynn Nguyen had a career-high 22 points on 8-9 shooting from the floor, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's basketball team captured a dramatic 88-86 road SCIAC win over Cal Lutheran on Wednesday evening.

With the win, CMS improves to 8-4 on the season and 1-2 in the SCIAC, bouncing back from a loss to Whittier on Wednesday evening. Cal Lutheran slips to 3-8 overall and 1-3 in the SCIAC with the loss. 

Cal Lutheran tied the score at 86-86 with 15 seconds left on a three-pointer from Cameron Mallory. CMS called a timeout and tried to feed the post, but the ball was deflected out of bounds with just over three seconds remaining on the clock. The Athenas inbounded the ball to the low block on the weak side, and Cleary was able to gather it in, make a move back to the middle, and bank home a shot with one second left to put CMS in front. The Regals were out of timeouts and tried to shoot a 65-footer at the buzzer, but the horn blew before they could release the shot. 

The Athenas were down 80-78 when Nguyen missed her first shot of the night after starting out 8-8 from the floor (5-5 from three) with 2:51 to go. CMS got a stop, though, and junior guard Kelly Keene knocked down a three-pointer to give CMS an 81-80 lead. After Nguyen got a defensive rebound, junior forward Kate Parrish scored on an offensive rebound with 1:31 left to give the Athenas an 83-80 advantage. 

Cal Lutheran hit three of four foul shots to tie the score 83-83 before Parrish knocked down two at the stripe to put CMS in front. Cleary came up with a big steal, and the Athenas made one of two at the line to make it a three-point game, before the Regals were able to tie it with a quick three-pointer, setting up the game-winning final possession. 

CMS got off to a torrid start offensively, taking a 24-16 lead after the first quarter of play on 10-18 shooting, with sophomore Jocelyn Song capping off the opening 10 minutes with a putback at the buzzer. The Athenas maintained a 39-31 lead at the half, before a high-scoring third quarter which saw the Regals outscore CMS 32-25 to pull within a single point heading into the fourth quarter at 64-63.

Nguyen was huge in the third to prevent Cal Lutheran from taking control with its 32-point quarter, shooting 6-6 over the 10-minute frame, including 4-4 from three. Her first two made treys came in the opening two minutes of the half to put CMS ahead 47-36, before Cal Lutheran warmed up and got back within 52-47 on a Natalie Ruhl three-pointer. Nguyen answered that one, but three straight Regal three-pointers gave the Regals a 56-55 lead with 2:58 left in the third. After an exchange of baskets, Nguyen had two straight layups, and then answered a Cal Lutheran basket with her fourth three-pointer of the quarter to put CMS ahead 64-60, before Ruhl capped off the third with a three-pointer for the Regals to make it a one-point game.

Cal Lutheran took a 74-70 lead with 6:07 left, but sophomore Flora Durgerian hit a big three-pointer to stop the momentum and pull CMS within one, and then fed Cleary for a layup to make it a 75-74 lead. After Cal Lutheran split two at the line, senior guard Gloria Bates made a layup and then had a block and a defensive rebound at the other end to try to give CMS a burst of momentum, before the Regals took the lead back with a three-pointer on their next possession. 

CMS finished the night shooting 54.7 percent from the floor (35-64) and 42.9 percent from three (9-21) on its way to the high-scoring win. Parrish ended with 19 points on 7-11 shooting from the floor and Cleary had 17 on 8-12 shooting. The Athenas were able to overcome 13 made three-pointers by the Regals, who shot 46.4 percent from beyond the arc (13-28). 

The Athenas will look to build on their last-minute win when they return to action on the road on Saturday, taking on Caltech for a 4 p.m. contest in Pasadena.