Women’s basketball team axes Alaska Anchorage, 67-47

By Erik Carr

On the one-year anniversary of last postseason’s loss at the
hands of Alaska Anchorage, the NCAA Div. II West Region No. 1 seed
Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team defeated No. 5 seed Alaska
Anchorage, 67-47, at Kellogg Gym on Saturday night.

“Even though we talked about our rebounding having to get
better, our defense really bothered them tonight,” said head coach
Danelle Bishop. “All of our guards like [junior guard] Ros[slyn
Beard] and Rey[ana] ” they kept just mixing up what they were
doing. Their guards were just having a hard time and didn’t know
what to do so I thought they did a good job of kept mixing it up on
them.”

The Broncos, No. 23 in the nation, improved to 27-4 for the
season and will play No. 2 seed Grand Canyon (29-2) 7 p.m. Monday
at Kellogg Gym for the NCAA Div. II West Region Championship.

The Seawolves (27-7) were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament
with the loss.

For the game, the Broncos dominated in all three shooting
categories and were led by another quality performance by senior
guard Reyana Colson, who scored a game-high 18 points and had five
steals. Colson also had two assists and five rebounds.

“We haven’t forgotten,” Colson said about avenging last year’s
NCAA Tournament loss. “We have a completely new team. We do have
the same personnel [players], but this year, we’ve maintained that
mentality throughout the entire season, and that’s how we’ve been
able to have so much success.”

Colson also said defense was a key component in Saturday’s
victory over the Seawolves.

“I felt like we got on them from the start,” Colson said. “Our
press definitely bothered their guards in the open court, and it
slowed their offense down, and it kind of made them use a lot of
shot clock and rush into their offense when it finally did get past
that point.”

Aiding the West Region Player of the Year with double-digit
scoring efforts were junior center Megan Ford, senior forward
La’kenya Simon West and junior forward Sarah Semenero. Ford and
Simon West each scored 14 while Semenero scored 11.

“We were pretty focused on this game, but [it] definitely made
this win a little more special just because of what happened last
year,” Ford said. “I think it was definitely in the back of our
mind.”

Though the Seawolves had 40 rebounds to the Broncos’ 31, the
Broncos took advantage of their turnovers by scoring 35 points off
of them to the Seawolves’ six.

“I think our guards did an amazing job playing defense tonight,”
Ford said. “They really made it easy for the rest of us just
because they were constantly pressuring them [and] they were
constantly turning it over so our guards did a great job
tonight.”

The Broncos began the second half with a remarkable 34-22 lead
and continued showing the domination they displayed in the first
with two early-half 6-0 runs.

However, the Broncos made the most of the Seawolves’ fouling
woes, sinking 16 of 27 (59.3 percent) second-half attempts while
the Seawolves went to the line seven times in the second half and
nine times in the game. The Seawolves made four of nine (44.4
percent).

With 2:21 remaining, senior guard Kaitlin McBride committed her
fifth and disqualifying foul on Colson, who proceeded to get her
last two points of the game to give the Broncos a 20-point, 62-42
lead.

The Broncos led by as many as 23 points twice when junior
forward Kaitlin Derby drilled a 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining and
when Simon West converted both of her free throws with 1:07 left in
the game. The plays by Derby and Simon West made the score 65-42
and 67-44, respectively.

To begin the game, Semenero got the Broncos on the board, 1-0,
with a free throw just 42 seconds into the game.

After being down 6-5, Semenero’s 3-pointer with 16:21 left in
the first half gave the Broncos the lead, 8-6, which they held for
the duration of the half and the game.

The lead increased significantly on scoring runs of 9-0 and 7-0,
giving the Broncos a commanding momentum.

In just 10 seconds to commence the 9-0 run, Colson racked up
four points and a steal. After a layup, Colson stole the inbounds
pass, and put up another layup with 12:48 remaining to make the
score 14-8.

Reeling off the run’s other five points and making the score
19-8 was Simon West, who hit two free throws and a 3-pointer to cap
the run with 11:34 left.

The 7-0 run was capped off by Semenero’s amazing underhanded
layup with 1:46 remaining in the first half to make the score
33-20.

With 18 seconds remaining, Colson made a free throw to take the
Broncos into the intermission with a 34-22 lead.

Bishop was pleased with the Broncos’ performance in the first
half of Saturday’s game but said her team has to improve its
rebounding in order to beat Grand Canyon on Monday for the NCAA
Div. II West Region title.

Colson said the Broncos are strictly focused on their next
opponent.

“We obviously are focused on Grand Canyon,” Colson said. “But at
the same time, we need to focus on how we prepare and what we do as
a team and I definitely think we have the pieces there to win. We
just got to make sure we put it all together on Monday night when
we play.”

Ford said the Broncos need to keep up their consistency in order
to win Monday’s game.

“We definitely need to keep playing how we’ve been playing; we
can’t overlook them,” Ford said. “At this point, it’s anyone’s game
so ” everyone needs to step up like they have been doing and we’ll
be good.”

Bishop said the Broncos need to play every game like there is no
tomorrow.

“We keep saying it’s do or die time,” Bishop said. “We can’t let
up. Each play has to be special and important, and we have to be
smart. We’re trying not to think about anything else. Right now,
our thought is Grand Canyon, and that’s where our focus has to
be.”

Women

Photo Illustration by Aaron Castrejon / The Poly Post

Women’s basketball team axes Alaska Anchorage, 67-47

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