The Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team matched up on the road with the Humboldt State Lumberjacks on Thursday and against the Stanislaus State Warriors on Friday.
The Broncos were on a three-win streak heading into the game against the Jacks, who have now defeated the Broncos twice this season after taking a 69-72 loss. The Broncos bounced back with a 69-65 win against the Warriors.
The Broncos only have five games left in the season and hold a 11-6 conference record.
The Broncos have only lost by three points in both matchups against the Jacks. They have battled hard, but have come up with tough losses. Two players scoring in double figures against the Jacks were senior starting point guard Jackie Ricketson and junior starting center Leilia Orji. Ricketson scored 19 points, tied her career high of 14 rebounds and was two assists away from a triple-double. Orji was 6-for-9 from the field with 14 points and six rebounds.
Head coach Danelle Bishop was pleased with how her team battled and gave its all. She knows her team is both capable of winning against the toughest teams and supporting each other when times are tough.
“Our flight (to Humboldt State) was delayed half the day; I think a lot of people don’t realize what student athletes’ days consist of. It’s a long day, so we just rested up and ended up not practicing, just trying to keep our legs fresh and our minds fresh,” Bishop said. “It was a tough loss for us because we really felt like we should have had that game. It’s just great to see, even with a tough loss at Humboldt, this team continues to grow and get better and improve and … to see their sisterhood.”
The Broncos came together to defeat the Warriors with eight players getting on the scoreboard and shooting an impressive 17-for-19 from the free throw line as a unit. Ricketson recorded her first career triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds, yet she still seeks improvement. She praises her teammates for creating shot opportunities and knocking them down off her assists.
“I’m actually really excited. There were definitely some things that I could have done better; I’m just really proud of my teammates finishing most (of) my passes, and I tried to crash the boards,” Ricketson said. “I try my best to get everyone involved. My teammates did a really good job of moving to open spots and running the floor and knocking down the shots that they can knock down.”
Senior starting forward Kasey Smit went on a scoring tear with 26 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double. She was locked in, and her performance came easily for her.
Her teammates were able to get her open, and she got herself in the best position for offensive rebounds and putbacks.
“I can agree with my coach that today, I was so focused and so determined on winning that I had a comfortable 26. It was easy and I was ready to play. It was a good game all around, and it felt good to be out there again,” Smit said. “Having good looks from Jackie and from everyone around and reading defense more really excelled the game even more and taking whatever the (defense) gives me. I think crashing the O-boards really helped me too by getting putbacks.”
Bishop is proud of her players and highlights senior starting guard Dominique Dotson for having “one hell of a game” against the Warriors. Bishop says the Warriors had no answer for her and that Dotson is known as a defensive stopper on the team, but wanted her to go beyond that.
“We’ve just been trying to push her as far as just finishing and scoring wise and things like that. She had a little bit of a slump and tonight she got out of that slump,” Bishop said. “She had our team going and she was all over the place tonight and played significant minutes. I was really happy for her.”
The Broncos are becoming closer as a team and are capitalizing on their strengths in games. Team chemistry and teamwork is continuing to expand heading toward the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournament in March.
The Broncos will return home to Kellogg Arena and take on Chico State at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
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