Broncos raided by Pirates at home

By Michael Zavala

The women’s basketball team has pushed itself hard in the
beginning of the season, playing one tough team after another to
strengthen itself.

Although Cal Poly couldn’t hold on for a victory in its season
opener Tuesday at Kellogg Gym, it appears as if that strategy is
showing some benefits.

The Broncos (0-1) were defeated at home by Armstrong Atlantic
State, 66-59. The game was the regular season debut of new head
coach Scott Davis.

“The team is trying to find its identity and made a step toward
finding who they are and what they do,” said Davis.

Despite the loss, Cal Poly played a strong first half, taking a
nine-point lead into the break.

The Broncos and the Pirates traded leads five times during the
first period, but Cal Poly took over after freshman guard Reyana
Colson hit a layup to give it a 26-25 lead.

“Reyana is fearless,” said Davis. “She goes right to the basket.
[…] She’s going to grow as we grow.”

That sparked a 12-4 run which gave Cal Poly a seemingly
unassailable advantage going into halftime. The Broncos shot 48.3
percent from the field and forced 15 turnovers in the first
half.

Davis said that not only were the Broncos getting it done on the
offensive end but they were also executing defensively.

“We knew what Armstrong Atlantic wanted to do, and we did a good
job of taking away their strengths,” said Davis.

The momentum Cal Poly carried into the locker room seemed to
disappear once it stepped back onto the court, as it shot only 28.6
percent from the field in the second period.

The Broncos still appeared to have life in them after senior
guard Cassey Brick hit an early 3-pointer to give Cal Poly its
biggest lead of the night, 41-29.

But then Cal Poly went on a nearly 15-minute stretch during
which it scored only one basket and Armstrong Atlantic clawed its
way back into the game and then some, taking a 47-44 lead with
10:39 remaining.

“We came out in the second half flat, and they took advantage of
it,” said senior guard Ashley Moody. “We got a little overconfident
and didn’t play the same defense we played in the first half.”

Cal Poly hit only eight baskets in the second half and shot 38.6
percent overall from the field for the game.

Davis said that where the Broncos were pressuring the Pirates
and getting to the ball in the first half, that energy just wasn’t
there in the second half.

“We lost our competitive defense in the second half,” said
Davis. “We got a bit excited [after the first half] and rested on
what we did. […] Some pressure dropped off.”

The Broncos managed to tie the game again, but the Pirates then
went on an 8-0 run to put some distance between them, 55-47.

As the game continued, Cal Poly felt the pressure to get back
into the game.

“We had to rush some shots as the shot clock wound down a lot of
times,” said Davis.

Cal Poly refused to give in, though, and attempted a comeback in
the final two minutes of the game, getting back to its pressure
defense and hitting a couple of solid baskets.

Moody scored seven of her 14 points in the final two and a half
minutes of the game.

“I know when to step up when the team needs me,” said Moody. “I
just tried not to overdo it and force shots.”

However, the Pirates were able to hit free throws when it
mattered and held on for the win.

The loss is a hard one for the Broncos, but they see the
positives that came with the losing effort.

“Tonight I’m proud of the girls because we never stopped the
closer we got to the end,” said Moody. “When you play these good
teams early in the season, it helps you against the good teams
later in the year.”

Davis agreed that the stiff competition the Broncos are facing
early in the season will toughen them up enough for them to take on
the best the California Collegiate Athletic Association has to
offer.

“If we just beat someone we’re better than, then we’re not
prepared for the teams that come later,” said Davis. “We’re in a
tough conference.”

Cal Poly will return to the court at home Friday against San
Francisco State on Pack the Gym Night and again Saturday against
Cal State Monterey Bay. The two contests will be the Broncos’ first
conference games of the season.

Broncos raided by Pirates at home

Allen Chen/Poly Post

Broncos raided by Pirates at home

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