Women’s basketball falls short in comeback bid, succumbs to CSUSM

By Ryan Ramirez, Feb. 6, 2024

Two of the top teams in the CCAA clashed Thursday, Feb. 1 as Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s basketball team took on the Cal State San Marcos Cougars.

Although the Broncos found themselves down by 22 points, they battled back into the game and continued fighting until the final buzzer. However, their efforts were not enough as San Marcos broke their program record for the most 3-point baskets made in a game with 15, solidifying their win 74-69.

San Marcos jumped out to the early lead, hitting three 3-point shots within the first five minutes. The Broncos could not get anything to fall offensively as they gave up five turnovers and shot only 16.6% from the field as they ended the first quarter down 16-4.

CPP’s struggles continued in the second quarter as it took until there were eight minutes and nine seconds left on the clock for a score, ending a nearly eight-minute scoring drought.

The Broncos attempted to get back into the game as forward Sydney Nelson converted an and-one layup and guard Kalaya Buggs hit a layup of her own to cut the lead from 16-4 to 19-11.

However, the Broncos committed three consecutive turnovers on their next three possessions, halting any momentum they had built and resulting in San Marcos going on an 11-0 run, finding themselves up 30-11.

The Broncos came out of the gates strong to start the second half with Nelson grabbing her own rebound after a miss and converting a layup. She helped lead the way for CPP, making an impact on both ends of the court.

“I think during the second half, the aggression we were all creating definitely helped with the shots that I wanted to take,” Nelson said. “I knew my team would back me up and be there for the rebound; I know we were all going hard. So, my teammates uplifting me helped with creating the shots that I wanted.”

Nelson got to her spot and would again sink a midrange and draw a foul on a layup. Buggs followed up with a 3-point shot and the quarter ended with a buzzer-beater layup by guard Reina Sausedo to cut the lead to 10.

The Broncos and Cougars started the fourth quarter trading 3-point baskets, with the Cougars having an answer for every attempt to get back to the game from CPP.

Although Buggs and Nelson would continue to lead the way with an and-one layup and midrange shot respectively, CPP could not stop San Marcos from the 3-point line, giving up multiple 3s which hindered their chances of a comeback.

Even when CPP was able to get a stop on defense, it would not pay off as they gave up multiple offensive rebounds, allowing the Cougars to extend their lead despite the missed shots.

San Marcos continued sinking 3s, surpassing their record for most in a game with 14 before extending it to 15, with both shots coming from guard Malia Mastora.

Although CPP found themselves down by double digits late in the fourth, they never gave up hope, forcing multiple turnovers and going on a 10-0 run in the final two minutes of the game. It would not be enough, however as the Cougar lead built by the barrage of 3s held, giving them the win 74-69.

Despite falling short, the Broncos still had multiple standout performances. Nelson recorded 29 points and six rebounds while Buggs notched 23 points, four rebounds and two assists.

Head coach Danelle Bishop reflected on the loss and the team being shorthanded due to injuries.

“We’re just adjusting to not being at full strength right now,” said Bishop. “That’s tough to do when we’re playing the number one team in the conference, but we have a really good team and I think we’ve proven that, so I’m confident we’ll bounce back.”

After the loss to San Marcos, the Broncos indeed bounced back with a thrilling overtime victory over Sonoma State Saturday, Feb. 3. CPP will next face Chico State this Thursday, Feb. 8 in Kellogg Arena.

Feature image by Alexander Novoa

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