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UCSD Women Deal a Blow to Chapman's Playoff Hopes

February 17, 1996|MARTIN BECK

ORANGE — Chapman's chances for an NCAA Division III playoff berth in women's basketball were dealt a serious blow Friday when UC San Diego defeated the Panthers, 65-49, at Hutton Center.

One week remains in the regular season and five California teams still are in the running for spots in the eight-team West Regional playoffs. San Diego, ranked sixth, probably knocked No. 8 Chapman out of the top eight.

Chapman (13-9) has two games remaining--against NAIA Christian Heritage Tuesday and at No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Thursday. "Had we gotten this one," Coach Mary Hegarty said, "I think we might have been able to lose to Claremont and still go. Now we could beat Claremont and still get left out."

San Diego (17-6) put Chapman in this position with an aggressive game plan that made the Panthers look bad on offense. The Tritons harassed Chapman post players with physical play inside and interrupted plays all over the court with hands-on defense. Chapman didn't handle the pressure well and committed 24 turnovers.

When the Panthers were patient, they got open shots near the basket, but they usually missed those. Even so, Chapman, which trailed by three at the half, remained close for a time.

The Panthers tied it, 30-30, with 16 minutes 51 seconds left, fell behind by six and then cut the deficit to two a few minutes later. But San Diego scored the next eight points and never led by fewer than six the rest of the way. San Diego's Marcia Jeffries scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half.

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