Women's basketball falls to No. 6 St. Thomas in First Round

Jaryn Fajardo dribbles around a defender.
Jaryn Fajardo (photo courtesy of Haley Staffon)

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 2017-18 season came to a close for the Chapman University women's basketball team in an 81-51 loss to No. 6 St. Thomas on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.

Sophomore Lucy Criswell paced Panthers (23-5) with 14 points while senior Jaime Hum-Nishikado scored 13 points in her final game. Junior Jaryn Fajardo grabbed eight rebounds, passed out six assists and scored five points in the loss.

The Panthers fell into an early 22-10 hole after the first quarter but kept pace with the Tommies over the second quarter. Chapman's 19 points in the period equaled the hosts as the Panthers went into the break down 12. Criswell scored nine of her 14 points in the quarter on 4-of-5 shooting.

The Tommies started the second half on an 8-2 run and continued to run away from the Panthers throughout the second half. Six different player scored in double digits for St. Thomas, led by 12 points from Lauren Fischer.

St. Thomas shot 51.7 percent overall and sank seven three-pointers. The Panthers were held to 30.5 percent shooting and 4-of-13 shooting from three-point range.

Hum-Nishikado closed out her career with one more three-pointer, extending her school record to 262 made threes in her four years. She also took a few trips to the charity stripe and now meets the minimum for NCAA rankings.

Her 92.5 percentage from the line coming into the game would have ranked second in all of Division III. She sank 2-of-3 against St. Thomas to end the season with a school record 91.4 free throw percentage this year and shot 87 percent from the line for her career – another school record.

The Panthers championship season comes to a close after winning their first SCIAC Tournament title. Criswell and Fajardo lead a crop of 12 players set to return in 2018-19.