Broncos extend CCAA lead to 3 games

By Samantha Calderon

In light of Homecoming weekend, the No. 16 Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team was victorious against Cal State Monterey Bay, 58-38, on Thursday and Cal State East Bay, 75-70, on Saturday.

Now on a five-game winning streak, CPP is 17-3 overall and first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with a three game lead at 14-2.

“We’re so excited that CPP did Homecoming so big this year,” said redshirt-junior Ariel Marsh. “[We’re] just excited that it was centered around basketball and baseball.”

The Broncos cruised through Thursday’s game, pushing their lead to the double digits early on and only allowing CSUMB to score 38 total points, the lowest total points from a CPP opponent this season.

By the end of the second half, the Broncos had two players hit the double digits, including Marsh, with 16, and junior center Jada Blackwell, with 15.

Even though assisting was evenly distributed among the Broncos, junior forward Ashley Lovett and Blackwell led the team in rebounding with 14 and 12, respectively.

“I think that our team has a lot of heart and we just don’t give up; we’re really motivated,” said senior guard J.J. Judge.

On Saturday, the Broncos hustled in an impressive overtime matchup viewed by approximately 2,275 fans, the largest attendance for a women’s basketball game since 1990.

“If we had crowds like that at all our games, I don’t think we could lose a home game,” said head coach Danelle Bishop. “They were our sixth man out there and they were fantastic.”

The crowd continued to rise to their feet as CPP and East Bay exchanged rallies.

“It was nice to have such a big crowd behind us,” said Judge. “While we were playing, I felt the gym shaking. I’ve never heard the gym that loud before.”

With the final games of the regular season fast approaching, the players feel that the Homecoming game gave them the chance to showcase just how exciting the women’s basketball team is to watch ,hoping it encourages larger turnouts moving forward.

“In a close game like [Saturday’s] just knowing that the whole school is on your side and rooting for you was a great atmosphere,” said Marsh. “The women’s games used to be a huge deal, just as popular as the men’s games and we want to bring that back.”

CPP played the Pioneers earlier in the season, losing 58-83, but the tables turned as the Broncos defense stepped up big, totalling 38 defensive rebounds, the most in a game this season.

Blackwell pulled together a double-double effort with 14 points and 13 rebounds while three other players scored in the double digits, including Marsh, with 21, Lovett, with 11, and Judge, with 10.

Sophomore guard Tyler Woods led CPP in assists with four, followed by junior guard Lauren Goecke and freshman guard Erin Hagen who had three and two, respectively.

Much of the teams relentless defensive performance can be attributed to Lovett, who recorded nine rebounds, including six on the defensive end.

However, the 40-minute game was not enough time to determine Saturday night’s winner.

“I told the girls to play Bronco basketball and to jump on the ride the crowd was giving,” said Bishop.

With five seconds remaining, CPP was up by two when East Bay managed to drop in a layup, tying the game at 61-61 to push it into overtime.

Even though the Pioneers rallied, scoring the first five points of the extra period, the Broncos’ hunger for the win was greater than their counterpart’s.

By the end of the overtime period, the crowd rose to their feet once again as the Broncos outscored CSUEB 14-9 in overtime to earn the hard-fought victory.

“East bay was really physical,” said Marsh. “They boarded well, they got to the basket, hit some inside shots, but I think at the end of day we have more offensive weapons, we are harder to guard and we put together a better all around game.”

All 14 of CPP’s points in overtime came off of free throws.

Woods hit five from and Marsh contributed with four of her own.

“We have so many people that have stepped up,” said Marsh. “It was harder to stop us because everyone was contributing and it was a whole team effort.”

The Broncos will play two road games this week against Sonoma State on Friday and San Francisco State on Saturday.

Broncos extend CCAA lead to 3 games

Courtesy Tom Zasadzinski

Broncos extend CCAA lead to 3 games

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