The Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team took on the San Francisco State Gators and Sonoma State Seawolves for the second time in the season. The Broncos had similar results in these game with two big wins. The final scores resulted in 66-45 and 71-65 victories.
The Gators had a 1-13 record going into this game, in which the Broncos would underestimate their opponent in the first two quarters of regulation. But they soon gathered themselves to close the game out strong. The Seawolves were 9-6 in conference and kept close throughout their matchup.
Head coach Danelle Bishop tried to prepare her team against the Gators so that they would not be caught off guard if the opposing team were to come out swinging.
“They’re 1-13 in conference and those are the scariest teams because they play and they have nothing to lose,” Bishop said. “I told (my team) that we had to be disciplined, we had to come out strong and we had to set the tempo and be the aggressors. And I don’t think we started off the game with any of those.”
The first quarter ended in a tie at 16 points each, but the Broncos were able to take a 6-point lead heading into the third quarter.
Although the Broncos stayed on top, they did not have an overall great shooting night. They shot only 30.9% from the field and 14.3% from three. It was the hustling, passing, rebounding and defense that won the game.
Senior starting point guard Jackie Ricketson played a huge role in Thursday’s game by doing just that. She had an off shooting night, only collecting four points, but she had eight assists and eight big rebounds, which is uncommon for a point guard.
“I am a little disappointed that I wasn’t hitting some shots, mostly just because they were layups, I got to finish those through the contact, but scoring is not really my main priority anyway,” Ricketson said. “If that’s not falling for me, I’m getting my teammates open and making sure that, you know, I’m hustling in other ways, so that I can still make a difference while I’m in the game.”
Ricketson proves time and time again that she can lead this team even if she’s not having an efficient shooting game. Senior starting forward Kasey Smit appreciates Ricketson’s ability to get herself involved in other ways and improve the team overall. Smit kept the Broncos alive and kept the ball rolling; she had 16 points, six rebounds and hustled for two steals against the Gators. She also had a big game against the Seawolves as she earned a nice looking double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
“(Ricketson) does the little stuff too, like the little stuff that doesn’t come up on the stats. She dives for a ball or like she gets the charge attempts, she gets in players’ faces and that really makes us motivated,” Smit said. “She brings an energy of competitiveness which really helps Jackie, especially getting rebounds. That’s really important because she’s a guard … she’s boxing out and no one wants to go around her.”
Although Smit had a great scoring night, she feels that she can still improve in other ways, especially on her defense. She said Bishop has been pushing defense onto the team because they have many assets to score, but they need to lock players down, grab rebounds and keep the ball in their possession longer in their games. Smit definitely did this against the Seawolves as she led in rebounding, blocks and points.
“At first, my mindset was ready for defense because coach has been on me a lot for being in the lanes, denying the high post and just like really working on my defense,” Smit said. “And at first, my shots weren’t really falling, so I was like ‘OK, I’ll just focus on something else, like rebounds and stuff.”
After focusing hard on defense, Smit found more confidence in her shooting after making a buzzer-beating shot to end the third quarter. She scored eight points in the third quarter and continued to score six points in the fourth quarter to blow the Gators out of the water. In the Seawolves game, Smit had her shot falling all over the field, shooting 10-for-15, 2-for-5 from behind the 3-point line and knocking down 4-for-4 free throws.
The Broncos now hold a 10-5 record in conference and are 8-2 at home. They will take on Humboldt State University at 5:30 p.m. in the Lumberjack Arena on Thursday, Feb. 6. The Broncos came up short in their last outing against the Lumberjacks, but will look forward to increasing their winning streak.
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