CPP women’s basketball secures third straight win on senior day vs. Chico State

By Nate Macay, Feb. 28, 2023

On Feb. 25, Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team faced off in another hard-fought game against Chico State this season, winning 56-53 to close out the regular season.

Head coach Danelle Bishop kept telling her team to focus on the defensive end and not the offensive end in order to keep up with Chico State.

“We had to make defensive adjustments to refocus,” said Bishop. “Basketball is a game of runs, and we weren’t shifting well. So when we changed it up to limit the wide open opportunities, and it was harder for them to make shots.”

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

The Broncos got off to a hot start offensively with four quick points from guard Alicia Jones to kick off senior night on a high note, leading 13-5 as Chico State called their first timeout of the game.

Jones led her team in rebounding with 12 boards and also provided 13 points to give her a double-double in the important contest.

“We wanted to come out strong,” said Jones. “This was a game we wanted to win especially for the seniors. So I just wanted to take shots I felt super confident with, but I was trying to focus on my defense to lead to my offense.”

CPP’s defense limited Chico State’s offense in the first quarter, managing to keep the Wildcats shooting under 30% from the field and out-rebounding them 16-9 heading into the second quarter.

Coach Bishop mentioned how good of a three point shooting team Chico State can be with the road team opening the second quarter with consecutive triples. The Broncos’ offense didn’t shy away as guard Breanne Ha provided five points in under two minutes to keep the momentum in favor of CPP.

Ha led the team in scoring for the day, finishing with 19 and tying her season high. The game plan according to Ha was to play their hearts out, knowing how big a win was headed into the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament next week.

As the second quarter progressed, Chico State got off to a 10-0 scoring run to earn their first lead of the game. The Broncos ended their three-minute scoring drought with a made bucket by guard Kalaya Buggs to retake the lead 28-26 heading into halftime.

The Broncos took care of the lead early on in the third quarter by limiting turnovers, continuing to out rebound the Wildcats and preventing second chance opportunities. Chico State found a way to get on another unanswered scoring run from guard Morgan Mathis to give Chico State the lead with 2:04 left to go in the third period.

Going into the fourth quarter, Chico State held the lead 42-41 and pushed the lead to four thanks to another downtown Mathis bucket. The Broncos then became aggressive in the paint and earned many trips to the free throw line to help even up the score at 50.

The final two minutes of play was close between the two teams. Buggs hit a huge shot for three points, but the Wildcats responded on the other end with a big and one layup from guard Zhane Duckett as the game was all knotted up again.

Senior forward Ciara James stepped up when her team needed her most, as she drove to the paint to convert a layup with 1:31 left to go in the regular season. On the next possession, James stole the ball and made life difficult for the Wildcats.

After Buggs went 1-2 from the line, the Broncos led 56-53 and with four seconds left. The Broncos’ defense stepped up to force the Wildcats to throw up a prayer, and it did not draw iron. and CPP held on to sweep Chico State for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

On an emotional night with her family coming all the way from Australia to watch her play the final regular season game as a Bronco, senior guard Ally Bates was appreciative of all the school had to offer for her during her time at Cal Poly Pomona.

“The community here has really made me feel special,” said Bates. “Being a foreigner, this school made me feel like I fit in, and I am happy we were able to win. That’s all that I could have ever asked for.”

The Broncos will now get ready for the CCAA tournament. They will be the No. 4 seed and will face off against a familiar opponent in the first round, Chico State. Bates said the Wildcats are one of the hardest playing teams in the conference and added that CPP will need to match their energy to finish 3-0 on the year against them.

Tune in to the CCAA Network on Thursday at 8 p.m. to catch CPP go up against Chico State in the first round of the CCAA tournament, and visit BroncosAthletics.com for more information.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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