Rebecca Islas nearly had a double-double as she had eight points and nine rebounds in the first round loss to APU. COURTESY OF DERRICK TUSKAN

Last second miss ends season in first round

The women’s basketball season came to an end Friday night after suffering a devastating loss to Azusa Pacific University, 62-60, in the quarterfinal of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II West Region Championship tournament. With the loss, the Broncos ended the season with a 25-6 overall record, and 19-3 in their conference.

“It was a great game, I’m so proud of these girls. We had such a good year, and I want to make sure I give the whole team credit for that,” head coach Danelle Bishop said. “We really battled tonight. We were a lot smaller than them and to come in and put 40 points in the paint really shows the grittiness that our players have, and I hope they earn a lot of respect from people out there watching.”

In her final game as a Bronco, senior guard Jordyn Shane contributed with 13 points and was one of two Broncos with double figures in scoring. Junior forward Kasey Smit was outstanding coming off the bench, recording a double-double, with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

“I think I helped my performance based off my teammates, and I just had the mindset of just going all out, because why not, and just the help from my coaches having my back and teammates made me a lot better,” Smit said.

As soon as the ball was tipped in the first quarter, the Cougars quickly went to work and with a couple of jumpers, took the lead. Midway through the quarter, the Broncos answered back after Smit and junior guard Dominique Dotson knocked down back-to-back shots, each to tie the game.

As the clock was winding down, Smit continued with the hot hand, knocking down a 3-pointer that brought the Broncos within three of the Cougars going into the second quarter.

Rebecca Islas nearly had a double-double as she had eight points and nine rebounds in the first round loss to APU. (Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan)

Starting the second quarter, the Broncos continued to penetrate into the paint, and as a result obtained a 13-6 run that gave them the lead, 27-23. To end the quarter, they continued with the efficient shooting, after junior forward Monica Todd knocked down back-to-back shots that took them into halftime leading by two.

Coming into the third quarter, the Broncos didn’t take the foot off the gas pedal and quickly went on a 6-0 run that extended their lead by eight. Moments later, the Cougars answered with an 11-0 run and took the lead 42-39 with 4:32 remaining on the clock.

In the final minutes of the quarter, both teams tightened up defensively and as result, both teams struggled shooting the ball.

As the quarter was coming to an end, the Broncos picked up the intensity and a couple jump shots helped them take the lead by one going into the final 10 minutes of the game.

During the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, the game was kept close after both teams got hot shooting the ball and exchanged shots back and forth.

Midway through the quarter, when it looked like the Cougars were pulling away with the win, Smit stole the ball on the defensive side of the ball and quickly dished it to Shane that turned into a layup to keep the game close.

“I think we fought hard, it was a really good game, it’s sad the outcome that we had but I’m really proud of our team and it was a really good effort,” Shane said.

Moments later, the Broncos attempted a late comeback after Smit knocked down a shot to tie the game, but it was quickly responded by the Cougars with a 3-pointer. With 15 seconds on the clock, the Broncos obtained possession of the ball and quickly drove up the court in an attempt to send the game into overtime, but unfortunately their efforts fell short as the shot did not go in and gave the Cougars the win, 62-60.

The Broncos finished second in the CCAA regular season standings. Offensively the Broncos finished second, averaging 71 points per game.

The Broncos will have an experienced team next season as they will only lose one player to graduation, but that player is Shane who recieved all-CCAA First Team Honors this season.

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