I've been MIA the past few weeks but now return to talk about the Chapman women's team who I try to see play ever chance I get, live stream or in person. To me I think this team is the lukewarm favorite to win to finish first and host the SCIAC playoffs. I say lukewarm because their size will be an issue for them. An athletic post player gives them some trouble. As hard as Gao plays, she tends to get in foul trouble albeit she's doing better than last season not committing silly fouls. Takaoka and Gao should be under strong consideration for POY because they've been on every team's game plan. Takaoka has carried the offensive load for the majority of the season. She hit a big three pointer with 22 seconds left in the game against Oxy last Saturday to put them ahead for the first time since early in the game.
Villanueva and Higashigawa have been playing better and better with each game. Higashigawa who's used mainly to guard the opponent's best scorer, has now been contributing offensively hitting some clutch shots in the second half of the La Verne and Oxy games. Villanueva has really settled down at the point. She's personally responsible for the team's wins against Messiah, Claremont and La Verne. Johnson played an outstanding game vs. Oxy and her two free throws sealed the win. Moy and Ebrahimian and freshman Krysl are contributing positive minutes. If they had Sato, who's injured, Chapman would be pretty tough to beat.
At this point of the season, the contenders are: Chapman, Cal Lu, Redlands, La Verne and CMC. I give Chapman a slight nod to win the league and host the playoffs with Cal Lu 2nd, Redlands 3rd and CMC 4th. I think Oxy is going to be a spoiler. Thursday, Chapman goes to Cal Lu and one might think if Chapman wins, they'll have a stranglehold on first, I don't think so because somebody will knock them off. This is going to be a GREAT GAME.