After coming off a 20-9 record last season and losing in the semifinals in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, women’s basketball looks to take the conference and make a run in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s always high expectations here at Cal Poly Pomona,” head coach Danelle Bishop said. “Obviously, we want to win the conference and that’s always the goal, but we want to get to the elite eight. We haven’t been back there for three and four years and our goal is to get back there.”
The Broncos have five players returning from last year’s team.
Two junior guards who played a significant amount of minutes last year are Mylah Andrada and Dominique Dotson. Dotson started 15 of her 29 games played last season, while averaging 4.3 points per game. To go along with Dotson and Andrada, Lauryn Catching is also returning after redshirting last season so she wouldn’t miss a year of eligibility.
Returning for their senior season are guards Crystal Malveaux and Jordyn Shane. Shane average 15.7 minutes of playing time last season, while averaging 6.1 points per game.
A key loss for the Broncos this season is senior guard Jackie Ricketson. Ricketson tore her ACL and is out for the rest of the season. She received second-team All-CCAA honors last season while playing 30.9 minutes a game and averaging 9.4 points per game for the Broncos.
“This is going to be a great leadership role for her this year,” Bishop said.
“She’s coaching on the floor and we would like to have her playing and we are going to miss her this year, but it’s just room for other people to step up and makes an opportunity for them.”
One of the main focuses in the Broncos this season is their defense.
The Broncos ranked first in defense last season in the CCAA. They only allowed an average of 59 points per game last season while opponents only shot 35 percent from the field against the Broncos, also ranking them first in the conference.
The Broncos also bolstered their roster by adding four transfers to this year’s team. Holding down the middle for the Broncos is 6-foot forward Kasey Smit whose size will make a big presence for the Broncos defense.
To go along with Smit, the Broncos also added two junior forwards in Monica Todd and Rebecca Islas. Islas can help the Broncos attack the rim and get points in the paint. Not only can she can be a force down low in the block, but she can also step back behind the arc and hit the three. The Broncos ranked 12th in the conference in 3-point field goals made last season.
“We are smaller and we are going to be pushing the ball a lot and that’s our goal,” Bishop said.
One big strength the Broncos have had in past seasons is their depth.
Bishop constantly rotates players in and out, making the Broncos bench one of the best in the CCAA.
“We have to have a good bench if we are going to keep pushing the ball,” Bishop said. “They’re going in and doing different things and we are going to keep working. We are going to be a hard team to match up against because we have a lot of people who can score the ball. This season should be exciting.”
The Broncos start their season this week, hosting the CCAA/PAC West Challenge this weekend.
On Friday night at 6 p.m., the Broncos will take on Point Loma and Saturday evening at 4 p.m. they will take on Azusa Pacific.
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