The NCAA Division III women's basketball playoff committee knew what it was talking about after all.
The committee had raised a few eyebrows Sunday when it announced that Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, runner-up in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, was seeded third in the West region, ahead of SCIAC champion Cal Lutheran.
But the host Athenas made the NCAA look good Wednesday with a 63-54 victory over Cal Lutheran in a first-round game.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (22-4) will play at St. Thomas (Minn.) Saturday in the second round. Meanwhile, the Regals (23-3) will be left wondering what might have been had they shot to their capabilities.
Cal Lutheran shot 46.2% from the field and averaged 94.4 points a game during the regular season, but hit only 29.2% (21 of 72) of its shots Thursday. The Regals made only 10 of 41 in the first half.
"The shots were there for us in the first half, but we just weren't putting them down," Cal Lutheran Coach Tim La Kose said. "We were getting the shots we wanted and the shots we've hit all season, but we just weren't making them."
Despite their woeful shooting in the first half, the Regals trailed only 28-25 at halftime, and they tied the score, 38-38, on a basket by Evi Orologas with 12 minutes 52 seconds to play.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps went on a 7-0 run over the next three minutes, however, to take a 45-38 lead with 9:13 remaining.
Cal Lutheran, couldn't draw closer than five points after that.
"We played good defense, but we just never got into a real good shooting rhythm," Cal Lutheran center Kelli McCaskill said.
McCaskill scored 20 points for the Regals, but she made only seven of 18 shots.
Cal Lutheran trailed, 8-0, after missing its first 14 shots.