Early run keys SCIAC-opening win over Oxy

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ORANGE, Calif. – Another fast start for the Chapman University women's basketball keyed a SCIAC-opening 83-63 win over visiting Occidental on Wednesday. The Panthers (4-0) never trailed on their way to a fourth consecutive victory to begin the season.

Chapman saw a balanced effort in the box score with five players scoring in double digits but were led by a double-double from sophomore Taylor Hextrum. Hextrum scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end.

Junior Lucy Criswell and senior Jaryn Fajardo led the Panthers with 14 points each. Sophomore Camryn Hamaguchi's 11 points gave the Panthers four starters in double figures while freshman Julia Strand scored 12 points off the bench.

The Panthers opened the game on an 11-2 run over the first three-plus minutes and continued extending their lead as the first period went on. The defense forced the Tigers into 10 turnovers in the opening quarter and 24 on the night, leading to 18 points.

With a 29-9 lead at the end of the opening quarter, Hextrum had eight points and seven rebounds to go along with a pair of steals. Chapman continued to open it up with an 8-0 run to start the second quarter, increasing the lead to as many as 28 points and cruising into halftime with a 49-26 lead.

Occidental made a run in the fourth to get back into the game. After freshman Julianna Campas' free throws made it 69-43, the Tigers scored the next 14 points to cut the lead down to 12 points. Madison Toy drained a three-pointer with three minutes left to cut the deficit to just 11 points at 72-61, scoring the last of her 16 points. Fajardo responded for the Panthers with a pair of free throws and Criswell knocked down a three-pointer after an Oxy turnover to spark a quick 11-0 run that grew the lead back to 22 points in less than a two-minute span.

Fajardo finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Taylor Yoshida led the Tigers with 20 points. Chapman shot 48.5 percent on the night despite hitting just 4-of-18 three-point shots. Occidental shot just 33.3 percent but mad 21-of-28 free throws to key the late push.

The Panthers head to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday as they continue a four-game SCIAC stretch prior to the end of the semester. They are back at home on Dec. 8 to take on Redlands at 2 p.m.