By Bryan Stauffer
The Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team (8-2, 5-1) is 4-1 since the start of December, winning seven of its last eight contests to maintain its first place standing in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
In their four wins since Dec. 7, the Broncos have won by an average of 11.2 points, topping UC San Diego, Cal State Monterey Bay and Humboldt State, twice. Over that span, CPP has four athletes averaging at least nine points, led by junior center Jada Blackwell’s 18.0 points per game.
The Broncos’ sizzling recent stretch, and more so their hot start overall, can be attributed to a very unselfish mentality taken by all players that is evident in the statistical balance throughout CPP’s lineup.
“Our players have that winning mentality right now and just want to do what’s best for the team,” said head coach Danelle Bishop. “I think that has really shown in our games.”
In its most recent contest on Saturday, CPP trampled CSUMB, 75-43, in its largest victory of the season. The Broncos held the Otters to just 28 percent from the field in both the first and second half and forced 17 turnovers in what was one of their best defensive efforts of the season.
Blackwell scored a game-high 19 points while senior guard J.J. Judge, junior guard Ariel Marsh and junior forward Mian Dingle each scored in double figures. CSUMB struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just six of 30 three-point attempts, while the Broncos shot 44 percent on 15 attempts.
Bishop takes pride in the Broncos’ ability to make plays from multiple positions on the floor, but ultimately it all leads back to their ability to play unselfish basketball and distribute the ball when and wherever needed.
“The awesome thing is that [opponents] can try to stop one person, but then we have someone else that will get on fire and they’ll try to stop them, too. We just have a lot of weapons.”
CPP’s arsenal of playmakers has given them the type of depth that could permit a formidable run at the postseason. Over the last five games, Marsh is averaging 13.6 PPG and 3.4 rebounds per game. Judge is right behind her with 11.8 PPG while junior forward Ashley Lovett is averaging 9.4 PPG and nearly 5 RPG.
Sophomore Cydnie Jones has been a scoring and rebounding threat for the Broncos this season, averaging 9.4 PPG and 4.8 RPG over the last five, but it’s her ability to do whatever the coaching staff asks of her that makes her a special player, according to assistant coach Kevin Adams.
“She’s our source of energy,” said Adams. “She rebounds and does all of the intangibles. Jada, J.J. and Ariel get a lot of attention, so it’s nice that she comes in and does all of the things we need her to do.”
The Broncos will return to action on Thursday when they take on the Gators of San Francisco State. On Saturday, they will take on Sonoma State in Kellogg Gym.
CPP in first: wins seven of last eight games
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