Following a narrow win over Cal State Monterey Bay, a physical matchup on Thursday, Jan. 25, Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s basketball team clinched a hard-fought 80-70 victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills, improving their season record to an impressive 12-5.
The physicality of the match was evident from the jump as Dominguez Hills racked up three fouls in the opening quarter as CPP aggressively pushed into the paint.
The Broncos had a tough time getting to the rim in their half-court offense as the Toros’ defense stayed back in a zone, settling for difficult jumpers.
However, while CPP struggled to score points in the paint, guard Breanne Ha was red hot shooting the ball in the opening minutes, sinking a layup and two 3s to give the Broncos time to adjust.
After a monster first quarter left CPP up 27-18, however, the Toros adjusted and stopped Ha from getting open looks, forcing the Broncos to make a change.
After an eight-point run by Dominguez Hills in the second quarter, the Broncos adjusted to create their own defensive stops so the team could get easier buckets out in transition and prevent the Toros from setting up defensively. This shift left CPP with a more modest 42-39 lead at the end of the half.
Addressing a pivotal moment in the third quarter, Coach Danelle Bishop expressed how vital their transition game was in maintaining CPP’s control over the game.
“In the third, if you notice, we lost a lot of momentum,” said Bishop. “They made a good run, and we just started to tank. We just regrouped. We had a timeout, and we regrouped, and we’re like, it’s not going to happen today. We are not going to do this. We know what happens when we do that.”
With the physicality further heightened, the Broncos used the intensity to their advantage to get the Toros in foul trouble, drawing five fouls in the third quarter alone.
Jeanette Fine, one of the standout performers of the night with 20 points, four rebounds and four steals, shared her mindset and approach to physical play.
“I already knew that they were physical when we were playing them the first time at Dominguez,” said Fine, “But I’ve trained my mind already to embrace and to like physicality. And so that’s where I do well the most, is when teams are physical because I like it, that’s what drives me.”
Fine also emphasized her role in influencing teammates to embrace physicality.
“I like to get my teammates to also like physicality too,” said Fine, “So that when we play teams like this, we all succeed and we all contribute to a win.”
That continued into the fourth quarter during which Dominguez Hills racked up 11 fouls against CPP’s three, gifting CPP 14 points off free throws in the fourth quarter alone. In the end, the game ended in an 80-70 CPP victory.
Kalaya Buggs reflected on her performance in the first half and acknowledged the need for a shift in her approach.
“In the first half, I saw that I wasn’t really hitting my shots,” said Buggs. “I didn’t shoot that many of them, I don’t think, in the first half. I just realized that I just had to be more aggressive going inside and just know that I can get to the basket and just be calm.”
The game’s progression showcased the adaptability of the Broncos, with strategic adjustments contributing to their success.
Fine acknowledged the importance of making on-the-fly adjustments.
“I think it’s just a game of adjustments,” said Fine. “We have so many weapons, like Bree’s a weapon, she’s a weapon, like Nellie’s a weapon. When someone else gets going, they’re going to have to stop that.”
In terms of individual performances, Buggs emerged as a crucial scorer leading the team with 25 points and an impressive 15-for-18 from the free-throw line. Fine’s 20 points made her the second-leading scorer.
Two days after the win over Dominguez Hills, CPP welcomed the Cal State LA Golden Eagles to Kellogg Arena, ultimately winning that match 79-76 thanks to an outstanding 35-point outing from Buggs. The Broncos will next face Cal State San Marcos on the road this Thursday, Feb. 1.