CLAREMONT — It's been their identity all year, but on Thursday the Occidental College women's basketball team's stifling defense was on full display.
That mixed with a dominating performance on the offensive glass, gave the Tigers an easy 52-32 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Ducey Gymnasium in a rematch of the 2010-11 SCIAC tournament championship.
In the first meeting since Oxy (13-2, 5-0 SCIAC) beat CMS 55-49 on Feb. 26, 2011 to earn an NCAA Division III postseason berth, the best defense in the SCIAC held CMS to 17 percent shooting and Oxy grabbed 17 offensive rebounds.
With the win, the Tigers remain undefeated and in first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Awbrey was able to turn her boards into points, particularly early in the first half. After replacing Makenzie Brandon (Seattle) 4 minutes into the game, Awbrey scored six points, with four coming on second chances. Awbrey finished with 10 points and seven boards.
"This was a really great win for us, because it was the first time we've all been crashing the boards," Rowe said, pointing to one stretch of five offensive rebounds on a single offensive trip as an indicator of the Tigers redounding effort on the night. "We knew going in that CMS' (Frannie Hemmelgarn) and (Jennifer Ringoen) are rebound oriented so we made that our goal to keep them out of the paint.
The Tigers forced CMS (9-7, 3-2) into several bad shots and blocked others. Oxy's Elizabeth Messick (Reno, NV) had three and the Tigers as a team combined for five.
Brandon, the SCIAC's leading scorer, was limited to just four points, but found other ways to contribute. In 28 minutes the 5-foot-10 forward grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and had four assists.
Playing against each other for the first time in organized basketball, the Scamman sisters — Oxy shooting guard Stephanie Scamman (Northridge) and CMS point guard Kim Scamman — matched up against each other a handful of times and connected for maybe the most jaw-dropping play of the game. With 10 minutes left in the second half, Kim blocked a layup attempt by her older sister, drawing "ooo's" and "aw's" from the crowd. Stephanie, unfazed, hit a jumper on the next inbounds play to ignite a 9-0 run that gave Oxy a comfortable lead for the duration of the game.
Both Scamman sisters connected on their first shot. Stephanie's came on a runner in the lane and Kim's a contested layup off a baseline drive 3 minutes later. Stephanie finished with six points and Kim had three.
The Tigers are back in action Saturday night at Cal Lutheran at 5 p.m.