Panthers fall despite fourth quarter comeback effort

Julia Strand looks for a pass.
Julia Strand (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University women's basketball team fell to the visiting University of Wisconsin La Crosse Eagles 67-62 earlier this evening. Freshman Julia Strand put up a career-high 14 points off the bench in the Panthers' effort.

UW La Crosse jumped out to an early 12-6 lead with the help of a couple of three pointers from junior Dani Craig. Strand and sophomore Camryn Hamaguchi responded with a couple of layups to cut the deficit to four points, but the Eagles extended their lead with a layup and a couple of made free throws. UW La Crosse finished out the quarter with a layup with just three seconds left to play to build a strong 24-16 lead over the Panthers.

The Eagles allowed Chapman to score just eight points in the second quarter as they cruised to a 38-24 lead heading into halftime.

The Panthers came out of the halftime talk firing, scoring five points to cut their deficit to 11 points. UW La Crosse hit a couple of shots from behind the arc in two consecutive possessions to take a 46-31 lead with over five minutes left to play in the third. Junior Lucy Criswell responded, converting an and-one to spark some Chapman offense. The Panthers finished the third on a Strand and-one, trailing by 14 points heading into the final quarter of play.

The Panthers then went on a 14-point run after the Eagles scored the first basket of the quarter, cutting the deficit to just two points. Chapman did not allow UW La Crosse to score in over eight minutes of play in the fourth quarter to nearly complete the come-from-behind effort. The two sides traded free throws in the final minute, but the Eagles were able to walk away with the victory and stay undefeated despite Chapman's 14-point run.

Strand added eight boards to her 14 points on the night. Fajardo led the Panthers with 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals in the effort. Criswell was right behind with 14 points, five boards and a steal.

The Panthers return home to Hutton Sports Center tomorrow, Dec. 29 to take on the University of Pittsburg and Greensburg at 3pm as part of the Panther Winter Classic.

by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant

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