Oliver’s criticism of big man works

Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver seems to know what buttons to push with his players. That was more than evident this week when the Coyotes were at a crossroads of sorts.

The team was picked to win the CCAA and was nationally ranked at one point but had done little to live up to that billing. Even more frustrating has been its tendency to play well against the better teams but totally tank against mediocre ones. They started the weekend 9-7.

After last Friday’s game, a loss to San Francisco State, Oliver blasted 6-7 junior Brandon Brown in the media. Calling him a “terrible defensive player.” He benched Brown and two others for Saturday’s game which the Coyotes ended up winning.

Then on Tuesday another publication printed a story on Brown which was focused on his failure to live up to his billing. Brown was not happy, even marching into Oliver’s office to ask why he trashed him to the media.

Oliver calmly asked him what part of the article or statements attributed to him did he not agree with. The two talked things out and went back to practice.

Then on Friday Brown delivered perhaps his best game when it counted most. He scored 16, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked two shots as the Coyotes trounced a talented Dominguez Hills squad that was ranked No. 2 in the West Region and came in leading the CCAA.

The incident definitely seemed to light a fire under him. While such criticism would not be appropriate of a high school player, it isn’t out of line when dealing with college-age athletes who are adults.

Brown was more conciliatory in a post-game interview and just chuckled when asked about the verbal beatdown he received a week earlier.

Oliver also tried to keep Brown motivated by starting Jordan Richard, a freshman out of Los Osos. Brown came off the bench about six minutes into the first half.

Tonight the Coyotes host Cal State L.A., another one of those mediocre teams they should handle.

Hopefully the Coyotes have learned and bring their “A” game. Because Friday’s performance was fun to watch.

Broncos rally past visiting Eagles

Cal Poly Pomona didn’t let a 12-point deficit get it down Friday night in its game against Cal State L.A. in California Collegiate Athletic women’s basketball.

                And despite trailing by 11 points on three separate occasions in the second half, the Broncos battled back and earned a 57-50 victory at Kellogg Gymnasium.

                Sophomore Reyana Colson (Compton) led the Broncos with a game-high 20 points and teammate Stephisha Walton (Vallejo) scored 15 points with 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. The double-digit night from Colson was her 15th straight after missing the first five games to injury.

                Cal Poly Pomona, ranked sixth in the initial NCAA Division II West Region poll, improved to 12-8 overall and 8-3 in the CCAA. Cal State L.A. dropped to 2-16, 1-10.

                Cal Poly Pomona trailed throughout much of the game and went into halftime down, 34-26. The Broncos fired just 29 percent from the floor and struggled to create any momentum in the opening 20 minutes.

                But CPP got things turned around after it trailed by 11, 42-31 with 14:11 remaining. Freshman Kaitlin Derby (Petaluma) drained a 3-pointer with 13:14 remaining and that triggered a 13-0 run that put CPP ahead 44-42 with 7:07 left.

                After Derby’s 3, Colson hit a three-point play of her own and Walton later added a pair of free throws. Walton added a layup and reserve Emily Nichols (Riverside) fired a 3-pointer and CPP fought its way ahead for the first time.

                CSULA scored four straight points, but it would be its last lead at 46-44 with 6:15 left.

                Walton answered right back with a three-point play. She drove inside, scored a layup and drew the foul. She hit the free throw and CPP led 47-46 and never looked back.

                The Broncos shot just 30.6 percent from the floor (19-of-62), but outshot CSULA 17-4 at the free-throw line.

                CSULA’s Shatori Dearman led her team with 12 points and six rebounds. The Golden Eagles went to the free-throw line just once in the final 20 minutes.

                The Broncos play host to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.


Dominguez women rout Coyotes

Cal State Dominguez Hills retained its hold on fourth place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball standings Friday night with a 62-52 victory over Cal State San Bernardino in Coussoulis Arena.
            Neka Mixon, the CCAA player of the week, led the Toros to their 12th win of the season with a double-double – 18 points and 13 rebounds. She also had three steals and two assists in 27 minutes of play.

            Brittney Blankenship had 12 points and five assists for the Toros, ranked No. 5 in the first NCAA West Region poll. The Toros are now 12-6 overall and 7-4 in the CCAA.

            The Coyotes suffered their sixth straight conference defeat and are now 7-10 overall and 5-6 in the CCAA. Krystal Urzua led the Coyotes with 20 points, two assists and two steals. Urzua hit four of 11 shots from three-point range. Shannon Gholar contributed 11 points.

            CSUSB will host Cal State L.A. at 8 p.m. on Saturday night while the Toros are at Cal Poly Pomona for a 5:30 p.m. start.

            Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State San Bernardino were locked in a close game in the first 10 minutes with the Toros leading 15-13 after a layup by Gholar. The Toros then went on a 12-0 run capped by Ashley Johnson’s jumper with 5:37 left in the half to lead 27-15 and took a 38-25 advantage to the locker room at intermission.

            In the second half, the Toros led by as much as 18 points at 48-30 with 14:13 left on a layup by Blankenship. The Coyotes then made a run, closing to within eight points at 60-52 with 2:15 left on a free throw by junior Aubrey Duran.  Blankenship sank a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left to salt the game away.

            The Toros outscored the Coyotes 30-12 in the paint and outrebounded CSUSB 41-28 but were guilty of 19 turnovers to just 15 for the Coyotes. CSUDH shot 54 percent in the first half (15 of 28) and 44 percent for the game (25-56).

            The Coyotes shot just 33 percent (18 for 54) and made just seven of 27 three-point attempts (26 percent).

Coyotes trounce Toros, tie for first

By Michelle Gardner

Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO – Maybe Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver
should bench players more often.

One game after sitting out three athletes, two of them starters,
the Coyotes responded with one of their best outings of the season
and they needed it, turning back CCAA frontrunner Cal State Dominguez
Hills 66-51 Friday at Coussoulis Arena.

The win boosted the Coyotes (10-7, 8-3) into a tie for first place
with the Toros (14-4, 8-3) as well as UC San Diego and Humboldt

What a difference a couple of months make. The last time the teams
played Dominguez won by 20.

Junior big man Brandon Brown, one of those benched, delivered his
best game in awhile with 16 points but he was an even bigger factor
on the boards with 13 rebounds and two blocks.

“We wanted to make a statement,” Brown said. “There was that
last game I didn’t play and I felt like I had to make up for it. ”

Oliver publicly criticized Brown last week but was more than
complimentary after the most recent outing.

“He was tremendous,” Oliver said. “We knew that’s the way he
could play and we were waiting to see it. He did it against a great
team, one that came in leading the conference in scoring.”

The Coyotes have been a slow starting team but bucked that trend
this time. The first half was tied at 14 with 8:55 left but the
Coyotes ended it with a 13-1 run, highlighted by back-to-back
3-pointers by Devin Montgomery and Lawrence Tyson.

The Toros started the second half with a 12-2 run, getting within
two points at 30-28 on a driving layup by Tim McGrath.

But the Coyotes tallied the next 10, working the ball in the paint
for all those points. A bucket by Brown made it 40-31 with 12:33 to
go and the Coyotes never looked back. A driving layup by DuBois
Williams seconds later made it 42-31 and the visitors were never
within single digits again.

Cal State led by as many as 18 at 62-3 with 4:53 left on another
bucket by Brown.

The Coyotes shot 47.2 percent from the field and outrebounded the
Toros 35-28. Joining Brown in double figures were Montgomery with 16
and Tyson with 12. Williams had nine points, four rebouds, four
assists, two steals and two blocks.

Ontario High School product Jerrell Smith has 13 points and five
rebounds to lead Dominguez.

“This was do or die for us,” said Montgomery, another of the
players that came back afer a benching. “Our backs were to the wall.
We have to keep playing like this.”

The Coyotes will host Cal State Los Angeles at 5:30 tonight. Th
game is being played before the women’s game tonight only, to
accommodate national television (CBS College Sports Channel).

Cal State’s Williams a jack-of-all trades

DuBois Williams sat at the end of the bench at Wells Fargo Arena on the campus of Arizona State. A sprained ankle sidelined him, and all he could do was watch as the Sun Devils battled Cal State San Bernardino, a Division II school with a solid basketball tradition.

Four years later, the most significant playing time of his career is coming at that school. There were two other stops in-between but Williams has found a home and has emerged as the jack-of-all-trades for the Coyotes (9-7, 7-3), who will host CCAA leader Cal State Dominguez Hills (14-3, 8-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Coussoulis Arena.

It will be the start of a big weekend for the Coyotes, who host Cal State Los Angeles (10-7, 5-5) in a nationally televised game Saturday.

“I don’t know where we would be without him. He has been our most consistent player. We know what he’s going to give us every night,” Cal State coach Jeff Oliver said. “He is big enough he can be a forward and skilled enough to play point, if that’s where we need him. He does a little bit of everything.”

Williams’ line in the Coyotes’ most recent game confirms his all-around contribution. He scored only four points in a 63-57 win over Monterey Bay last Friday, but he also had nine rebounds, five assists and three steals — all team highs.

On the season, he is averaging 8.5 points but he also is second on the team in rebounding (6.0) and first in assists (3.1) and steals (2.4). He said he doesn’t mind the role of an unsung hero.

He ranks second in the conference in steals and seventh in rebounding and field goal percentage (.521).

“Sure, I would I like to score 20 points a game. Every player wants to be the points guy,” he said before practice on Wednesday. “But it’s a team and everyone has to make sacrifices. I don’t mind being the guy that does the cleanup as long as we win.”

Williams, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard, took the long road to San Bernardino. He drew considerable attention from Division I schools during his prep days at Marcos DeNiza High School in Tempe, Ariz., but it faded considerably after he broke his foot for the second time his senior year.

He settled on Arizona State because it was the local school and hoped to earn a scholarship after walking on a freshman. That never happened and he ended up using his medical redshirt.

He transferred to Fresno City College and helped the Rams reach the state semifinal, where it lost to an unbeaten Fullerton team led by current teammate Tim Denson as well as former Coyotes Michael Earl and Phil Jones.

Then it was on to Division I St. Mary’s, which also recruited him out of high school. After playing sparingly for two years he decided to seek a bigger role elsewhere.

“I didn’t see my role changing,” he said. “They had a lot of really good players. I liked the school and the players and I didn’t want to be one of those guys complaining. I just wanted to go and play my senior year where I could have an impact and make a team better.”

He planned on going to Division II Grand Canyon University, also in his home state, but that school was undergoing another coaching change. The former coach there suggested Cal State because of its tradition, playing facility and coaching staff.

Williams’ father Dave, a former player at Oklahoma State and current coach of the ABA’s Phoenix entry, got in touch with Oliver.

“We wanted him to be in a good program close enough we would get a chance to see him play,” Dave Williams said. “We also wanted a total experience, not just a good place to play basketball but a good academic environment. It was the best of both worlds.”

Williams made a trip to watch the Coyotes play in a summer league game at Cal Poly Pomona, then visited the school and worked out with some of the players. Oliver was sold.

“He was great,” Oliver said. “Sometimes guys don’t always look that good because you’re throwing them into a mix with guys they don’t know. But he was super.”

It wasn’t quite that easy. Williams had to complete an on-line Spanish class to finish off his degree from St. Mary’s before he could enroll at Cal State. That grade didn’t get posted until late August.

“We got him late, real late,” Oliver said. “Late enough we weren’t getting anyone else if he didn’t get in.”

The Coyotes haven’t quite lived up to expectations, but Williams has been satisfied with the move. He already has a degree in communications and is seeking another, possibly in architecture so he has something to fall back on if the right professional opportunity doesn’t come up.

He doesn’t regret not coming to Cal State sooner, even though it might have meant more playing time.

“You can’t have regrets,” he said. “You have to make a decision and live with it. I have learned something

Redlands’ Willis gets pro tryout

University of Redlands women’s soccer senior midfielder Becky Willis (Escondido, CA) earned the right to try out for the Boston Breakers, a Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) franchise, according to announcement by Head Coach Suzette Soboti.


Tryouts are set to occur on Monday, Feb. 9 and Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, MA. Players attending the tryout may be selected for the team’s preseason camp, which will start on Feb. 28.


Willis enjoyed a remarkable career as a student-athlete at Redlands. Throughout her storied Bulldog tenure, she garnered two National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/ adidas All-American honors, three NSCAA/adidas All-Region laurels and three First-Team All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) nods, including the 2008 SCIAC Player of the Year award. This past season, Willis tied the program mark for assists in a season with eight and led the team to its first-ever at-large bid into the NCAA Championships.


“This opportunity is great for the exposure of the University of Redlands as a premier Division III institution,” Soboti said. “It’s every girl’s dream to have this opportunity, and being that this is the first year of the league, many are having the chance to move on to the next level that didn’t have it before. The goal is to help bring the girls to the next level, whether it be as a player, coach or otherwise, and hopefully Becky’s experience in Boston motivates those on the team that want to play professionally.”


While the competition is fierce in trying out for the Breakers, Soboti said that the experience there could open up other opportunities should she not make the training camp roster.


“If she goes to the Boston Breakers tryout and doesn’t make the cut, she could possibly get on other WPS teams,” Soboti said. “The soccer community is very small, and if the coach there thinks she has potential, she may get a similar opportunity with another franchise.”


A handful of undergraduate Redlands student-athletes will try out for the Ventura County Fusion, a semi-pro team, this summer. The Fusion recently produced a player that got drafted by the Breakers in the inaugural WPS draft.


The WPS is in its first year following a five-year period without a women’s professional soccer league in the United States. In 2003, the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) folded after three seasons.


Humboldt State team to beat in CCAA softball

Defending national champion Humboldt State and reigning California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) champion Cal State Stanislaus earned preseason national Top 25 rankings, in the 2009 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll that was announced on Wednesday.

The Lumberjacks, who received 10 first-place votes, are ranked second while the Warriors garnered a No. 14 ranking.

Lock Haven, which totaled six first-place votes, earned the top spot in the poll and is coming off a 49-8 record in 2008.

Humboldt State concluded the 2008 campaign with a 57-18 overall record that included a 24-8 mark in CCAA play. The Lumberjacks, who defeated Emporia State, 1-0, for their second national title, concluded the year atop the final NFCA poll.

Cal State Stanislaus compiled a 31-23 overall record and finished second in the CCAA after posting a 20-12 conference mark. The Warriors captured the conference postseason tournament after defeating Cal State San Bernardino, 8-0, in the championship game.

Chico State, Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State Monterey Bay open their season on Sunday, February 1, while Cal State San Bernardino begins play on Tuesday, February 3. All nine CCAA teams will take part in the Mizuno Best of the West Invitational in Turlock beginning February 6.

2009 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Poll

1. Lock Haven (6) (49-8)

2. Humboldt State (10) (57-18)

3. St. Edwards (53-17)

4. Francis Marion (39-16)

5. Ferris State (35-18)

6. LIU-C.W. Post (48-16)

7. Southeastern Oklahoma (53-12)

8. Winona State (38-15)

9. Tampa (35-13)

10. North Georgia (38-15)

11. Kutztown (48-13)

12. Lewis (38-18)

13. Barry (44-8)

14. Cal State Stanislaus (31-23)

15. St. Leo (37-15)

16. Georgian Court (39-16)

17. Colorado School of Mines (38-19)

18. Central Missouri (36-22)

19. Georgia College & State (40-14)

20. Bloomsburg (51-11)

21. Minnesota State Mankato (42-16)

22. Caldwell College (35-22)

23. Emporia State (48-17)

24. Saginaw Valley (34-17)

T25. Alabama-Huntsville (52-9)

T25. Angelo State (48-12)

Chico State favored in CCAA baseball race

Chico State, which has won three conference crowns
since 2000, has been selected to capture the 2009 California
Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular-season title in a vote
of conference baseball coaches, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Wildcats totaled 73 points and garnered three first-place votes
to finish ahead of UC San Diego in the balloting.

The Tritons collected 70 points and four first-place votes. Defending CCAA
Champion Sonoma State (69), which received two first-place votes, was
third and followed by Cal State Stanislaus (56), Cal State L.A. (43),
Cal State San Bernardino (39), Cal Poly Pomona (37), Cal State
Dominguez Hills (31), Cal State Monterey Bay (17) and San Francisco
State (9).

Chico State, UC San Diego and Sonoma State each received three votes
to capture the CCAA Championship Tournament that is scheduled for May
7-9 at a neutral site to be announced at a later date. Cal State
Stanislaus also garnered a vote to win the postseason tournament.

Chico State begins the 2009 season ranked No. 7, while UC San Diego
is No. 4, Cal State Stanislaus No. 24 and Cal State L.A. is tied for
No. 40 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll.

The Wildcats are coming off a 41-17 record and an NCAA West Regional
Championship appearance in 2008. UC San Diego compiled a 43-18
overall record, finished second in the CCAA with a 25-11 mark and
advanced to the NCAA West Regionals.

Defending West Region Champion Sonoma State is un-ranked heading into
the 2009 season. The Seawolves enjoyed their finest season in program
history as they compiled a school-record 52-15 mark and finished
third at the 2008 NCAA Division II Championships Finals.

Cal State Stanislaus posted a 37-23 record and finished fourth in the
CCAA with a 24-12 mark. Cal State L.A. is coming off a 29-22 season
in 2008.

UC San Diego and Cal State San Bernardino will be the first two CCAA
teams to open the 2009 season when they get underway on Sunday, Feb.
1. The Tritons will host San Diego Christian College, while the
Coyotes begin a three-game series against Grand Canyon in Arizona.

California Collegiate Athletic Association
2009 Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll

Rank Team (First place votes) Points
1. Chico State (3) 73
2. UC San Diego (4) 70
3. Sonoma State (2) 69
4. Cal State Stanislaus (1) 56
5. Cal State L.A. 43
6. Cal State San Bernardino 39
7. Cal Poly Pomona 37
8. Cal State Dominguez Hills 31
9. Cal State Monterey Bay 17
10. San Francisco State 9

Coyotes to be seen nationally

The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) will gain some national television exposure this weekend when Saturday’s men’s basketball game between Cal State L.A. and Cal State San Bernardino will be televised live by CBS College Sports Network beginning at 5:30 p.m.

CBS College Sports Network is available on various cable and satellite providers throughout the country. Charlie Neal and Roland Williams will provide the play-by-play and analysis.
“This will be a great opportunity for Cal State L.A. and Cal State San Bernardino to showcase their programs,” California Collegiate Athletic Association Commissioner Robert J. Hiegert said. “The CCAA has a rich basketball tradition and having a nationally-televised game will provide exposure to the conference and its member institutions. People tuning into the broadcast from around the country will have an opportunity to see the high caliber of play that the CCAA is recognized for at the Division II level.”
This is the third year of the television agreement between Division II and CBS Sports Network (formerly CSTV).
“Our partnership with CBS College Sports has been a successful and productive Division II initiative,” said Mike Racy, vice-president of NCAA Division II. “We are able to provide national exposure for the student-athletes and their institutions while also providing viewers a unique glimpse into the division and the way we balance academics and athletics excellence.”
The Cal State L.A.-Cal State San Bernardino showdown will be one of five men’s NCAA Division II broadcasts, which will began on Jan. 3 with Chaminade at Dixie State. After the Golden Eagles and Coyotes on Jan. 31, Colorado Christian will be at Metro State on Feb. 14, Northwest Missouri State will be at Central Missouri on Feb. 21 and Wheeling Jesuit will be at West Liberty State on Feb. 28.
In addition, four women’s games will also be broadcast. Florida Southern was at Barry on Jan. 10, East Stroudsburg was at Shippensburg on Jan. 17, Incarnate Word was at Saint Mary’s (Texas) on Jan. 24 and Northwest Nazarene will be at Seattle Pacific on Feb. 7.
The games will also be syndicated through regional sports networks and made available via broadband at www.ncaa.org.
“NCAA Division II basketball has been a staple of our strategy to serve fans at every level,” said Tim Pernetti, executive vice-president for content at CBS College Sports Network. “Our partnership with the NCAA continues to thrive on many fronts, providing a well-deserved national showcase for NCAA Division II athletics and some memorable moments on the CBS College Sports Network.”
In addition, the women’s game between Cal State L.A. and Cal State San Bernardino will be moved from the normal 5:30 p.m. start time to 8 p.m.

The two teams met earlier this season and Cal State San Bernardino pulled out a 73-70 overtime victory in Los Angeles.

Regional rankings don’t include Coyotes

The first Division II regional basketball rankings came out today and the most noteable absence is that of the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes.

The regional poll is important because it is the determining factor for the postseason tournament.

Brigham Young-Hawaii (11-1) is No. 1 in the West as expected. The Seasiders are followed by Cal State Dominguez Hills (13-2), Seattle Pacific (10-4), Western Washington (6-3), Central Washington (8-4), UC San Diego (9-4), Humboldt State (10-6), Dixie State (7-5), Cal Poly Pomona (6-5) and Chaminade (8-3).

The Coyotes, a perennial CCAA title contender, are 9-7 overall but are just 8-6 against Division II teams. They lost to both Dominguez, Seattle Pacific and Western Washington but have beaten San Diego, Pomona and Humboldt State.

The problem is the Coyotes have inexcusable losses to Sonoma State and San Francisco State. So coach Jeff Oliver didn’t expect to be ranked. In fact, he says he is glad his team isn’t included since it tends to get more complacent each time it gets a pt on the back.

There is still a long way to go and the Coyotes can make a significant statement with wins over Dominguez Hills and Cal State Los Angeles this weekend. It has been a long time since a Coyote team has had to really fight just to get into the top eight and the schedule doesn’t favor the Coyotes the rest of the way.

Stay tuned!