By Michael Zavala
The women’s basketball team has been transforming since the
beginning of the season.
Although Cal Poly may still stumble at times, it is proving it
can pick up big wins when they are needed.
The Broncos (8-8, 5-5) defeated No. 25 Sonoma State, 64-57,
Saturday, which bumped the Seawolves from first to third in the
conference. The victory came one day after Cal Poly was defeated by
Humboldt State, 72-65.
“This win [against Sonoma] means a lot because of where we’re
at,” said head coach Scott Davis. “It’s a game we wanted to win
because we needed a win.”
With the victory, Cal Poly is in a tie for fifth place in the
California Collegiate Athletic Association with Humboldt State and
San Francisco State.
The Seawolves played the Broncos tough in the first half. Cal
Poly was able to grab a four-point lead with 5:36 remaining, but
Sonoma State showed why it was the top team in the CCAA by taking
command with a three-point halftime lead, 32-29.
Sonoma was led by Danae Wellander, who scored 14 points in the
first period and presented a tough physical challenge to the
“We were getting hurt badly with screens; we weren’t physical
enough,” said Davis. “Our toughness pulled through for us because
[Wellander is] such a physical player.”
Cal Poly’s toughness was on full display in the second half – it
held Sonoma to 24 percent overall from the field, and Wellander
scored only five points after the break.
The Broncos supplemented their defense with strong offense as
well, beginning the second half with a 19-6 run and never looking
Cal Poly also rose to the challenge in an area that has done it
in on occasion: foul shooting. Senior Vanessa Dominguez, who led
the Broncos with 15 points, hit four free throws in the final 1:17
of the game.
“We knew we needed the free throws to win,” said Dominguez. “I
just imagined the basket big and [the ball] went in.”
Davis was pleased with the Broncos’ reliability on the free
throw line against the Seawolves.
“Last night, [we shot] 55 percent [from the line], tonight 80
percent – there’s the ball game,” said Davis.
With 11 points, senior Ashley Moody was the only other Bronco
besides Dominguez in double figures.
Cal Poly had firm control of the game when it needed it against
Sonoma State, but the opposite was true against Humboldt State.
The Broncos led for much of the first half and stretched its
advantage to as many as eight points, but the Lumberjacks’ strength
in the paint allowed them to drain the life from Cal Poly and
shrink the deficit to one point going into the break.
“I sincerely think we were not ready to play,” said Davis. “We
were not mentally focused.”
Humboldt continued to pour on the pressure by taking the lead
and running it to seven points, 47-40. Timely 3-pointers from
juniors Andrea Ohlssen and Anna Pineda kept Cal Poly within
striking distance, however.
But the Lumberjacks’ play in the paint was just too strong.
Katie Franci and Taylor Kilgore were able to cut inside and drive
hard to the basket whenever they pleased, and the Broncos paid
dearly for it.
Franci led all scorers with 19 points, while Kilgore, who
averages 3.8 points per game, had 17. Overall, Humboldt scored 40
points in the paint.
“They had lots of points from their post players, and they’re
not a post team,” said Davis. “Our post players have been playing
well for us, but tonight they didn’t.”
Dominguez led Cal Poly with 17 points and Ohlssen had 13, but
just as the Broncos did the next evening, Humboldt hit free throws
when it needed to and took home the seven-point victory.
Still, the win against Sonoma State gives the Broncos a big
boost of confidence going into a crucial four-game road trip in
which all the games are winnable for them.
Dominguez is confident Cal Poly will come out on top.
“I think we’re a whole different team now,” said Dominguez. “We
work well together, and we’re much better on defense.”
The Broncos return to the court on the road Friday at Cal State
Monterey Bay and again Saturday at San Francisco State.
Robert Jackson/Poly Post
Moody, Cal Poly drop another ranked team
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