March 4, 2009

Courtesy of Occidental Athletics

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Tonight will be another clawing match as the eager Tigers, in their first postseason appearance, from Occidental College travel to Chapman University where the Panthers are seasoned playoff veterans.

The Tigers are excited to represent Oxy and the SCIAC and will surely compete.

“Chapman is a very good and experienced team,” said first year head coach Heidi VanDerveer. “It will be a great first round game.”

Chapman (19-8) has been led all season by senior point guard Lauren Kamiyama, who is averaging 9.4 points per game and 4.5 assists per game (110 total) with 80 steals. Junior guard Linda Ly was named MVP of the Division III Independents Postseason Tournament last weekend and currently leads the team with 11 points per game. Defensively Andrijana Kerkez has grabbed a team high 7.9 rebounds per game and has 13 blocks this season. The Panthers rank No. 33 in Division III in turnover margin, a result of its high-pressure defense.

“They like to get out in transition so one of the biggest keys to winning the game will be our transition defense. Also, their guards drive so we need to contain the ball as well.” VanDerveer went on “Since they really pressure, we will need to play strong and be sharp offensively.”

When the Tigers have the ball they will look to two-time SCIAC Player of the Year Brianne Brown who currently leads the team with 12.7 points per game and18 blocks and is second with 5.9 rebounds per game and 2.6 steals per game (70 total).

Two other Tigers earned First Team All-SCIAC recognition and will play key roles for the black and orange at the Hutton Sports Center Wednesday night.

Dior Williams earned her second All-SCIAC recognition after being named to the Second Team after her freshman year. A pre-season injury sidelined her for the 2007-08 season, but she has returned to fine form averaging 11.0 points per game while recording 3.9 steals per game (104 total) and 2.4 assists per game (64 total) this year. Stephanie Babij collected her second consecutive First Team recognition. She has grabbed a team high 7.6 rebounds per game and her presence in the paint has allowed her to score 10.6 points per game. Babij also recorded 15 blocks.

Britinee Yasukochi has dished out 3.4 assists per game (91 total).

Occidental (22-5) is prepared and excited to get back on the court. The Tigers and Panthers will meet for the second time this season and Oxy is determined not to let history repeat itself. Earlier this season the Panthers defeated the Tigers 78-58.

Overall Chapman has scored 65 points per game while Oxy is averaging 62.7. However the Tigers hold a 41.4 field goal percentage as the Panthers are shooting 37.2% from the field. Oxy is also slightly more consistent from three-point range at 34.5% to Chapman’s 31.7%. CU is a 66.7% shooting free-throw team and Occidental holds a free-throw percentage of 61.6.

Beyond the numbers, the bond that the Tigers have developed will play an important role. This is a close knit group that is highly motivated and goal orientated. They are also very supportive of each other. It is obvious that the chemistry they have is strong, which is important because individual success and the success of the team are mirror images of each other.

Tonight, the Tigers look to dethrone the Panthers, snapping their 5-0 postseason record versus SCIAC schools, while punching a ticket to Oregon where the George Fox (27-0) Bruins are preparing to host the second game of the 2009 NCAA Division III Playoffs.