Head coach Danelle Bishop rallies the team during a timeout against Chico State Feb. 8. | Photo courtesy of CPP Athletics

CPP women’s basketball fires on all cylinders in road win at Cal State East Bay

By Dylan Long, Feb. 27, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s basketball team put forth an impressive wire-to-wire win Thursday, Feb. 15 at Cal State East Bay, 77-56. The win moves the Broncos CCAA conference record to 12-6 on the season and 16-7 overall.

The Broncos came into Thursday’s game with a bitter taste in their mouth as Cal State East Bay won the first meeting between the two Dec. 9, 82-80. The Broncos blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter of that matchup, giving CPP some extra motivation Thursday night.

The Broncos came out flying after the opening tip. CPP put together a dominant 22-7 first-quarter performance, showcasing a combination of hard-nosed defense and fast-paced offense. The Broncos controlled nearly every minute of the opening quarter.

Head coach Danelle Bishop noted how hungry the Broncos were for this win.

“Coming into today’s game, we were all still feeling the bitter taste from the loss we suffered to East Bay back in December,” Coach Bishop said. “We just felt that we made a lot of unnecessary mistakes in the first meeting that we knew we could fix.”

The early Broncos offense was led by guard Kalaya Buggs and forward Sydney Nelson who combined for 18 first-quarter points.

“Coach Bishop did a great job getting us prepared for this game,” Nelson said. “We had great team chemistry and believed in our plan.”

CPP was able to stymie the Pioneers’ offense early, creating fast break opportunities for the Broncos on offense. The Broncos refused to let East Bay gain any momentum in the early stages of the game with their stifling defense.

The Broncos followed up their dominant first-quarter performance by turning in another complete team effort in the second, extending their lead to 29-7 in the first few minutes of the quarter. CPP continued to turn solid defense into offense, scoring off turnovers and fast break opportunities.

The Broncos would carry a whopping 28-point lead into the half, up 46-18. The first matchup between these teams featured a blown CPP second-half lead, so the Broncos made an effort to put their foot on the gas.

Sydney Nelson goes for a jumper in the paint against Chico State Feb. 8. | Photo courtesy of CPP Athletics

After a monster first half for the Broncos, Cal State East Bay needed a collapse of epic proportions to get back in this game. However, CPP never gave the Pioneers any hope, as they matched East Bay’s scoring for the remainder of the game. The Broncos kept the pressure on the Pioneers, finishing the game with nine steals and three blocks on defense.

The Broncos shot 8-20 from behind the arc and 28-59 from the field. CPP also made the most of their free throw attempts, shooting 13-17 from the charity stripe. Buggs, Nelson and guard Breanne Ha were the three Bronco players who reached double-digit points.

“I just felt locked in from the very start of the game,” said Nelson. “I felt confident in my game and I was able to get good matchups all night long. It was a great team win for us.”

Nelson finished with 18 points, three assists and one rebound on 6-9 shooting from the field and 6-7 from the free throw line. She also played the second most minutes for the Broncos, finishing up with 33 minutes.

The Broncos were able to avenge an early season loss, but more importantly, they secured an important CCAA win at a time when they needed it most.

“This was a massive win for us as we try to make our push towards the postseason tournament,” Bishop said. “Right now, we are right in the thick of the CCAA race and wins like tonight are going to be huge for us.”

The Broncos kept the ball rolling into Saturday’s matchup at San Francisco State Feb. 17. CPP decimated the Gators 83-53 before recording another win over Cal State Monterey Bay and a narrow loss to Stanislaus State the following week. The Broncos will take on Cal State San Bernardino in Kellogg Arena this Thursday, Feb. 29 for their final match of the regular season.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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