Cal Poly women fall to Seattle Pacific

LA JOLLA – Prior to Saturday night’s game, Cal Poly Pomona coach Scott Davis said No. 15 Seattle Pacific is a strong contender for this season’s Division II women’s basketball title. The Falcons and Broncos played a close first half, but Seattle Pacific pulled away in the final 20 minutes to win 77-58 in the second day of the CCAA/GNAC Challenge, played at UC San Diego.

“The fight we showed tonight against an unbeaten team, and one that probably will be ranked in the top 10 this week pleases me,” said Davis, whose team saw a two-game winning streak end. “Our execution needs to be better, but overall, we fought real well and didn’t give in.”

Junior Andrea Ohlssen led the Broncos, now 3-5 overall, with a career-high 21 points that included a 5-for-7 effort from the 3-point line. Senior Vanessa Dominguez put together her second successive positive night with 18 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Her efforts followed a 19-point effort in the Broncos’ 68-62 win over Western Washington on Friday.

Cal Poly Pomona stayed with the unbeaten Falcons (9-0) and trailed just 30-28 at halftime on the strength of an 80-percent effort from the free throw line (4 of 5) and a 4-of-7 showing from the 3-point line.

Cal Poly Pomona’s Natasha Reed hit three free throws in the first two minutes of the second half to tie the game at 31-31, but that tie would not last long as the Falcons would go on a 15-3 run over the next six minutes to pull away for good.

After Ohlssen and Dominguez, Reed was next in scoring with five points.

Kelsey Burns sparked the SPU surge with three 3-pointers over that span, the last of which put the Falcons up by a 46-34 score with 12:18 to go in the game.

“In the second half, their maturity and composure took over,” Davis said. “For 25 minutes, we stood up and played awfully well. They’re a pretty complete team.”

Burns scored a team-high 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half, while Melissa Reich added 12 points and five rebounds. Jackie Hollands added 10 points and Beth Christensen posted nine points, six rebounds and six assists, giving her 14 assists in the tournament.

Two stats showed the difference in the game. The Falcons’ bench outscored CPP – 43-9 – and their inside players owned a 26-12 scoring advantage in the paint.

The Broncos return to the court Friday night when they play host to CS Dominguez Hills. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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Chaffey women off to good start

Chaffey College womens basketball coach Gary Plunkett thought he had a talented crop of freshmen coming in,  so he thought this years version of the Panthers would be able to pick right up where last years left off. So far that has been the case.

The Panthers (13-3) head into the heart of the Foothill Conference schedule as one of the favorites, along with Mt. San Jacinto and San Bernardino Valley College.

Chaffey has competed in four tournaments, winning one, finishing second once and winning the consolation bracket twice. The Panthers are ranked 15th in the state and ninth in the South.

I had high hopes and so far they have been fulfilled, Plunkett said. I felt like we had some really skilled players coming in, especially at the perimeter. They have been able to adapt quickly so I am very pleased.

The veteran is sophomore guard Christina Warren (15.9 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game), who has earned all-tournament honors in three of Chaffeys four events and is a returning all-conference selection.

But the core of newcomers that Plunkett is excited about is led by freshmen guards Keisha Mackall (Miller HS) and Tamesha Jackson (Upland HS). Mackall (12.3 ppg, 4 apg, 2.8 spg) has also earned three all-tournament nods, including an MVP selection at Irvine Valley. Jackson (11.9 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.4 rpg), third on the team in scoring, was a coveted recruit also sought after by local rivals Citrus and Mt. San Antonio College.

Tamesha is the better athlete. She has got that quick first step, Plunkett said. Keisha has that court savvy and more big-game experience having played for a CIF championship.

While that trio has provided the scoring punch, Plunkett has also gotten productivity in the paint from the other two starters  freshmen Johnshunay Parsons (7.6 rpg) and Aundria Anderson (7.6 rpg, 9.2 ppg).

The Panthers return to the court at 1 p.m. Saturday with a road game at Victor Valley. The next home game will be Jan. 5 against Barstow. While Plunkett was quick in pointing out the three frontrunners, he added that Antelope Valley and Rio Hondo could also be a factor.

We have to see how it all plays out, but there should be some great games, he said.

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Struggling Broncos look for non-conference win tonight

POMONA – The season is starting to wear on Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball coach Greg Kamansky. And it is only six games old.

The Broncos are just 1-5, their worst start since going 1-6 to start the 1981-82 campaign. They have a chance to get back on track tonight as LeMoyne (6-5), a Division II school out of Syracuse, N.Y. stops in for a 4 p.m. game at Kellogg Gymnasium. It will be the final non-conference tune-up for the Broncos, who resume CCAA play the following weekend.

The record isn’t what bothers the veteran coach the most. It is the way his team has looked in those losses. He sees a lack of competitiveness, heart and organization, especially on the offensive end of the court.

“We don’t have the most talent so we can’t afford to play stupid,” he said. “We have to go out there and want to compete. The way things have been going lately, if one thing goes bad, it completely breaks our spirit and we’re not able to bounce back.”

Kamansky would like to think his team has a shot at turning things around but nothing he has seen leads him to believe that will happen.

“There’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling and we’re looking like good bait,” he said. “I’m sure our opponents can’t wait to get their hands on us, especially the teams we have had our way with the last few years.”

The Broncos lack of depth will be further tested tonight as they will be without 6-foot-7 senior center Kaelen Daniels (6.8 ppg, 3 rpg) who was ejected from Cal Poly’s last game against Central Washington in Las Vegas for throwing a punch.

Senior Kevin Neveu (6.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg) will inherit the majority of the playing time in Daniels’ absence.

The Broncos have gotten solid play out of junior forward Larry Gordon (17.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg), who earned all-tournament honors in Las Vegas despite the 0-2 showing. He ranks fifth in the conference in socring and second in rebounding.

But the Broncos will need a steadier effort from erratic senior guard Angelo Tsagarakis (13.8 ppg), as well as sophomore Donnelle Booker (6.6 ppg), who thus far has looked little like the player who earned CCAA Freshman of the Year honors last season.

Kamansky said the next three games will prove crucial. After today the Broncos, who were picked to finish second in the conference, get back to CCAA play with home games Friday and Saturday against Dominguez Hills and Cal State Los Angeles. Despite the poor start Cal Poly is still just 1-1 in conference.

“If we can win two out of three then we’ll at last have something to hang our hat on,” he said. “But the the way we have been playing we’re just as capable of losing all three. I don’t know what to expect.”

LeMoyne, which plays in the Northeast-10 conference, arrived earlier in the week and squared off Thursday against Cal State Los Angeles, losing 76-57.

Sophomore forward Laurence Ekperigin (17.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is the Dolphins top player. Two others – senior guard Jason Holmes (13.4 ppg) and senior forward Jonathan Joshua (10.8 ppg) – are also averaging double figures.

Ekperigin had 12 points and nine rebounds in Thursday’s game against the Golden Eagles.

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