Women’s basketball falls short to Concordia

Biola’s senior night faced a bittersweet loss in their final regular season game.

Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Gigi Fierro, Freelance Writer

Biola hosted Concordia University Irvine at Chase Gymnasium for the final game of the Eagles’ regular season. The night started by honoring senior guards Jelissa Puckett, Kayla Macedo, Tatum Brimley and senior forward Mikayla Greens. After the tears of many parents and loved ones, the game finally began with a battle against Concordia’s offense. The Eagles fought throughout the game, hitting basket for basket in retaliation to Concordia, but it wasn’t enough to inch out a win, leaving the final score 51-59. 

Puckett had 12 points in tonight’s game, alongside teammate junior forward Jazz Benn with 12 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Freshman forward Madi Chang contributed seven points and six rebounds to tonight’s game. 

SENIORS COMING OUT HOT

In the first quarter, Greens won the tip-off and had a defensive rebound within the first minute of the game to start her senior night. Puckett then came out with a jumper for two, followed by a defensive rebound by Macedo, who kept the energy alive. Biola started to struggle against Concordia’s offense halfway through the quarter. However, Brimley shifted the early struggles and scored a layup, followed by Chang making both free throws, and sophomore guard Aysia Johnson with a layup to tie the quarter 10-10.

The second quarter is where Biola fell short defensively when facing Concordia, leaving lanes open and having difficulty rebounding, which allowed the Golden Eagles some easy points. The Eagles scored a total of nine points in the second quarter. Biola ended the half trailing 19-26.

“Concordia is a very tough, physical, talented team. In some ways we tried too hard tonight,” said head coach Alan Nakamaura. “We didn’t have our usual flow and that will be our goal as we get ready for playoffs. Getting back to the things we do best and doing them really well, which starts with team work and toughness at both ends of the floor.” 

A BITTERSWEET BATTLE

Moving into the third quarter, the Eagles were determined to have some progressive ball movement on the court. A 3-pointer from Benn got the momentum going, and the Eagles started to bring that fire they had in the first quarter back into the game. The crowd was roaring as Macedo hit a jumper from the paint, followed by Benn with a layup, and Chang with a three and a layup. Freshman guard Stephanie Lee sunk a three and Puckett sunk her clutch free throws to push BU back into the game. The room was electric as the Eagles slowly tightened their trail behind Concordia. Biola finished the quarter strong, 36-44.

After the late momentum shift in favor of Biola, the Eagles struggled to regain their same energy. Eventually, Benn and Brimley came out hitting needed jumpers, getting the crowd amped to finish off Concordia. Despite all efforts, Biola was still eight points behind. However, both teams became extra aggressive where most of the turnovers and fouls were found in the fourth quarter. After Puckett, Johnson and Lee went 100% at the line and the score was 45-57 with two minutes left. Puckett then proceeded to hit two threes to bring the score to just eight points behind with just twenty seconds left in the game. 

“Our last home game so we wanted to win,” Greens said. “But I’m still proud of the way we played, we had some good ups during the game. I’ve been able to grow spiritually and emerge as leader being team captain learning how to organize my time. Whether it be basketball or nursing, I’ve just grown so much and have had so much fun. This is my favorite team I’ve played with by far.”

The Eagles (18-10 overall, 14-8 PacWest) will compete in their first ever PacWest Championship Tournament beginning on Thursday, March 5 through Saturday, March 7 at the Felix Event Center in Azusa, California.