By Donevan Aceves, Nov. 16, 2021

On Nov. 12, the CPP women’s basketball team faced off against Azusa Pacific as part of the CCAA Pacific West Conference Challenge in San Diego, California. After an almost two-year long hiatus, the Broncos suffered a loss of 74-78 in their first match of the 2021-2022 season.  

Head Coach Danelle Bishop acknowledged the struggles the team faced returning to competitive play during the pandemic.  

“It feels great. We are still shaking off some rust, but we will get there,” said Bishop. “Last year was tough on our players and coaches with not being able to play. Each day we step on the court, we are grateful and thankful to do what we love and don’t take it for granted.”  

Bishop added that the team has been working diligently on building chemistry on the court, as only four players on the current team roster are returners.

With the Broncos’ previous win against Azusa Pacific taking place five years ago, the Broncos were determined to claim victory over the team once more during the action-packed season opener. However, the Cougars employed a highly aggressive offensive strategy from the first possession of the game. 

While the first quarter demonstrated strong offensive and defensive plays from both teams, the Broncos fought their way to a five-point lead over the Cougars by the end of the second quarter. The broncos headed to the locker room up 34-29.

A well-executed game plan from Bishop kept the Broncos in the game and helped the team extend its lead over the Cougars throughout the entire third quarter. The Broncos began the fourth quarter with high hopes as they dominated 53-36. 

Nonetheless, 29 turnovers helped the Cougars claw their way back to the top of the scoreboard with under a minute to play. As the Broncos quickly fell behind with a 71-68 score, senior guard Ally Bates drilled a game-tying basket from beyond the arch, sending the game into overtime. Facing the last few minutes of the match, the Cougars prevailed over the Broncos with a couple of free throws, leaving the final score at 78-74.  

Although the loss was a discouraging moment for the team, Bates expressed excitement to be back on the court shooting hoops with both new and returning teammates. 

“It was a great feeling being back on the court. It was also exciting to see the potential we have and see what we can achieve this season,” said Bates. “That last shot I made was just a last chance to see if we could save the game and it was very exhilarating seeing that ball go in.” 

The Broncos’ senior forward Rebecca Islas delivered a stellar performance as she recorded a double-double in her first game in over a year. The senior forward finished with 24 points with 10 rebounds, two assists and four steals.  

“I was honestly surprised by how I played especially because I haven’t played in almost two years. I forgot what it felt like to play in front of a crowd,” said Islas. “I want to enjoy my last year and have as much fun as I can. As long as we can stack up our wins this year, I think we are capable of a lot this season.”  

For team stats, highlights and livestreams of the game visit the CPP Athletics Department website.

Feature image courtesy of Trenton Hernandez

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