SBVC men heading to Fresno

The San Bernardino Valley College men’s basketball team will square off against City College of San Francisco at 1 p.m. Thursday at Selland Arena in Fresno in a state tournament quarterfinal.

The Wolverines were the third seed out of the South and will be playing the second seed out of the North.

SBVC might be the toughest team to prepare for because of its balance. Coach Quincy Brewer doesn’t really have a starting five. He has 10 guys the same caliber and it’s a matter of who is hitting on that day. Scout them one day and that doesn’t mean those coming up big will be the ones doing ao the next game.

It’s also nice to have a team made up mostly of Inland Empire athletes representing the school. SBVC is no stranger to the state tournament scene. But in the past the Wolverines have done it with collection of players with temporary addresses in the IE.

Another marquee matchup will pit North top seed Fresno, sure to have a boisterous crowd on hand, against Riverside which upset defending state champion Citrus.

The Tigers, coached by John Smith, will also be a great representative of the Inland Empire.

Coyotes, Broncos to battle in West Region quarterfinal

Well the pairings for the Division II men’s basketball playoffs are official and to no one’s surprise Cal State San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona will be doing battle once again.

The two teams split regular season meetings with each winning on its home floor. This showdown will take place on neutral territory as Western Washington will host a four-team sub-regional. That’s another whole story.

But it will be good to see the teams square off with so much on the line, adding to what has become an interesting rivalry. It also guarantees the area a team in the semifinals. Broncos vs. Coyotes, Coyotes vs. Broncos.

Neutral court.

Player of the Year Larry Gordon against CCAA Tournament MVP Brandon Brown.

Both coaches were playing it cool on Sunday night, perhaps not wanting to provide bulletin board material for the other.

Oh so many subplots.

The whole sub-region scenario is ludicrous. Call it the Alaska/Hawaii rule. The NCAA just didn’t like the thought of having to fly seven teams to one location so they changed the rules in midstream. Instead of having eight teams go to one location the NCAA has divided the West Region into two sub-regions with the winners squaring off to decide who goes to the Elite Eight.

The rule only affects the West because it is the only region so spread out it would be in a siuation where seven teams have to fly in.

Now you have to make decisions on the two teams that get to host. Cal Poly was in perfect position last week at No. 2 in the region but it lost. Western Washington should not have been able to leapfrog three teams in one week and get the nod ahead of the Broncos who beat the Vikings head to head.

The other brain-numbing move was the award of the eighth and final seed to Humboldt State over UC San Diego. Humboldt lost two of three games against San Diego, both by double digits. One of those came just last week in the CCAA Tournament. Humboldt played a far easier schedule and played the majority of its nonconference schedule at home an has lost four of its last five games. San Diego has a reason to be furious.

Superman leads Coyotes to CCAA championship

Cal State San Bernardino junior center Brandon Brown is a lot like Shaq. OK so he isn’t quite as big as Shaq and we’re not talking about players at the same level. But he is a lot like the former Laker player in the personality department.

The Coyotes (20-9) had just polished off Monterey Bay 80-78 in the CCAA Tournament finale and the team photos had been taken with the championship banner. Brown then grabbed the banner, flung it around his shoulders like a cape and started racing around the Coussoulis Arena floor.

Definitely something Shaq would do.

Coach Jeff Oliver called his star player “a big kid” after the game.

Brown poured in 34 points from all points on the floor. Most of those points came in the paint but he hit a couple of fadeaway jumpers and had a couple shots from the baseline in the final minute that were huge.

Brown scored the first 12 points of the game for the Coyotes. Asked afterward if the Coyotes game plan was to go to him often early, he replied.

“Not not really, I was just feeling juicy.”

Uh-huh, something Shaq would say.

Hard to believe he wasn’t named MVP of the conference. All he did was lead the CCAA in scoring and blocks and place third in rebounding. And his team tied for the regular season title, making the eighth time the Coyotes have finished first in the last 10 years.

That honor went to Cal Poly Pomona’s Larry Gordon who is rounding out a stellar career with the Broncos. But his numbers were down this year. It isn’t a career award, it’s a player of the year honor and no player did more for his team, especially down the stretch than Brown.

In a few hours the Coyotes and the Broncos will find out where they’re headed for the West Region Tournament. It would be great if the Broncos got the nod. They were in position to do so until laying an egg against Monterey Bay Friday in the semifinal.

Cal State women go down fighting

The Cal State San Bernardino women’s basketball team pulled off one upset but couldn’t quite finish off another and fell to No. 2 seed Humboldt State 67-57 in CCAA Tournament semifinal play Friday at Coussoulis Arena.

Humboldt State, which has won 10 straight games, will play for the title at 5:30 p.m. tonight against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The Coyotes (11-17) , seeded eighth in the field, stunned No. 1 UC San Diego in Tuesday’s quarterfinal and played a near flawless first half but couldn’t stick with the more well-rounded Lumberjacks (23-6) in the late going.

“We played well but the longer it went the more our weaknesses were exposed,” Coyotes coach Kevin Becker said. “They came up with some big shots late and were getting the rebounds. Rebounding and post play have been our problems for us all season.”

The Coyotes led by as many as 14 points in the first half, that
edge coming when Jaclyn Rainville hit a 15-foot jumper to put Cal State up 32-18 with 5:45 left. The Lumberjacks finished the half with a 11-0 run and only trailed 32-27 at the half.

Cal State also hung in early in the second. Humboldt State pulled even at 38-all on a bucket off the inbounds pass by Andrea Bobic. It was later even at 42.

But the visitors then put together a 12-1 that put them ahead for
good. Five of those points came from Katie Franci. The run also
included a 3-pointer by Jennifer Enos. The Lumberjacks built a
double-digit lead for the first time at 54-43 on a bucket underneath by Taylor.

The Coyotes last ditch effort came when Shannon Gholar scored on a layup after a steal at the Humboldt end that made it 56-50 with 2:03 to play. But the Lumberjacks pulled away at the free-throw line, making seven of eight tries the rest of the way with reserve Luiza Osborne hitting all six of hers.

Cal State shot 32.4 percent (23-for-71) for the game but had only one player in double figures, that being Morgan Pryor who tallied 20 points. Krystal Urza and Rainville chipped in with nine each. Rainville also snagged a team-high eight rebounds while Ashlee Ford had six assists.

Humboldt, ranked fourth in the West Region, shot 41.5 percent
(22-for-53) from the field and 69.2 percent (18-for-26) from the
line. It also benefited from a 49-40 edge on the boards.

It had four players finish in double figures led by Brittany Taylor
with 15. Franci contributed 13 points and 16 rebounds.

“They can score from all five positions. That’s different than any
other team in the conference,” Becker added. “And they have
multiple threats in most places.”

Becker was pleased with how his team finished after losing nine
straight games midway through conference play.

“The coaching staff was very positive with us,” Pryor said. “They didn’t give up on us and didn’t let us give up on ourselves. We had our ups and downs. It would have been a better season if the ups had lasted a little longer.”

C S DOMINGUEZ HILLS 74
CHICO STATE 61

Sophomore Neka Mixon scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists to lead the Toros (20-9) past the Wildcats (16-13) in the other semifinal. Third-seeded Dominguez also got 10 points and five assists from Etiwanda graduate Aujanee Baldwin.

Chico State’s Melissa Richardson led all scorers with 18 points.

Coyotes advance to CCAA final

The Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team escaped – again.

The Coyotes slipped past longtime nemesis UC San Diego 76-72 in a CCAA Tournament semifinal Friday night to earn a spot in tonight’s 7:30 p.m. title game against unheralded Cal State Monterey Bay (16-13).

The Coyotes (19-9) nipped Sonoma State 79-77 in Tuesday’s
quarterfinal and coach Jeff Oliver is pleased to see his team start knocking down some shots at crunch time, something it had trouble with earlier in the season.

“We’re making the most of our opportunities and taking advantage of some mismatches,” Oliver said. “I think it’s a matter of our guys better understanding their roles and feeling more comfortable in the offense. It’s good to see.”

The Coyotes led by as many as 11 in the second half, that lead coming at 62-51 with 8:45 left. But the Tritons (17-11) came back as they always do. San Diego evened the game at 67 on a baseline drive by Shane Poppen, who surged past defender Brandon Brown, playing it safe after being called for his fourth foul.

The game was tied again at 70 with 1:40 to play. The Coyotes got a fadeaway jumper from Tim Denson to go up 72-70 with 1:13 left. The Tritons failed to answer as Kelvin Kim missed an open look from the top of the key, his favorite shot.

 

 Cal State’s Devin Montgomery scrambled for the rebound with 45 seconds left and sank a pair of free throw to up the lead to four, 74-70.

Montgomery was at the line twice more and delivered two with 18.2 seconds left and one of two later to seal the outcome.

“I was just trying to relax and make them,” Montgomery said. “I
was in that position before and didn’t come through. I wasn’t really thinking about it, but I was thinking about it. I didn’t want to fail in that position again.”

The Coyotes, ranked seventh in the West Region, shot 57.4 percent (27-for-47) from the field with Brown’s 22 leading the way. Montgomery and Denson contributed 15 and 13 respectively. DuBois Williams had a steady game with eight points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

San Diego came in needing to win the tournament to advance to the West Region Tournament, something it did last year. The Tritons got 24 from Jordan Lawley and 16 each from Alan Husted Poppen.

The Coyotes entered the tournament seeded third despite claiming a share of the regular season title for the eighth time in 10 years. Monterey Bay was the seventh seed but it upended No. 2 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Tuesday, then followed with an ugly-but-effective win over the top-seeded Broncos.

Cal State swept both regular season meetings against the Otters.

“That’s going to be another tough one,” Oliver said. “They play
hard and don’t quit and they have the momentum right now.”

Broncos fall in CCAA semifinal

The Cal State Monterey Bay men’s basketball team delivered its first blow Tuesday when it throttled No. 2 Cal State Dominguez Hills. It turned in another stunner on Friday, upstaging top-seeded Cal Poly Pomona 54-49 in overtime in a CCAA Tournament semifinal at Coussoulis Arena.

The Otters (16-13), the eighth seed, were playing for their lives
with the tournament bid the only chance they had of making the West Region Tournament. The Broncos (20-7), who came in riding an 11-game winning streak, have already secured a spot in that event but were playing for the right to possibly host a sub-regional.

“Their season was on the line and they were playing like it,”
Broncos senior Larry Gordon said. “We knew they were going to come in and play hard and we really didn’t step up and answer. ”

The game was not a particularly well-played one on either side. The Otters shot just 33.9 percent (19-for-56) including a woeful 16.7 percent (3for-16) from long distance. Meanwhile the Broncos shot a slightly worse 33.3 (15-for-45) with 18 turnovers.

How bad was it? Well the Broncos went the first 11 minutes of the second half without a field goal, a driving layup by Dahir Nasser breaking that drought. But it wasn’t like the Otters played well enough to capitalize as they only led 29-28 despite after that play.

“We were fortunate to be as close as we were,” Broncos coach Greg Kamansky said. “It was more about bad offense but they did play good defense and just got after us and we didn’t respond.”

The second half was tight all the way with neither team managing more than a four-point lead. It was tied at 38 with 2:08 to go but Gordon knocked down two free throws to give the Broncos back the lead, 40-38.

The Otters had three shots on their next possession before the
Broncos Dwayne Fells came up with the defensive rebound. They failed to convert as Gordon misfired and the Otters Steve Monreal grabbed the rebound with 50 seconds left.

The upstarts converted as Monreal drove the baseline and sunk a shot to even it again at 40-all. It stayed that way as Nasser missed a 3-pointer to leave the game tied after regulation.

The Otters led the extra period all the way with two free throws
by Monreal, making it 50-46 with 19 seconds to go. The Broncos
Walter Thompson buried a 3-pointer at the other end with 13 seconds to go, bringing the Broncos back within one point but that was as close as the Broncos would get.

“We were dysfunctional on offense,” Kamansky said. “We seemed a little too tight and then we were hanging our heads. We got what we deserved.”

Gordon led the Broncos with 17 points, highlighted by his 1,400th career field goal which came on a driving base line move with 6:59 left in the game. He also had six rebounds and a career-high seven steals which also stands as a best by any player in the conference this season.

Monreal led the Otters, who will be making their first appearance
in a conference tournament final, with 18 points. Joe Mitchell
snagged 14 rebounds.

Fuselier, Robinson make their teams go

The men’s basketball teams from Chaffey College and San Bernardino Valley are just one step away from the state tournament slated for Fresno March 12-15.

Both teams will try and take that next step on Saturday. SBVC will be at home to play Miramar while Chaffey will head to Mission Viejo to try and upend top-seeded Saddleback. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.

Each team has a rock as its star player – For Chaffey its 6-5 sophomore wing Winston Robinson. For SBVC it’s 5-9 sophomore guard Warren Fuselier.

All Robinson does is knock down shots, make his free throws and rebound. He is averaging 17 points a game and can score from anywhere on the court. he is big enough and strong enough to battle for points in the paint and he is smooth enough and has enough range to make the 3-pointer.

Even better is his ability to deliver at crunch time. Not all players can do that. I have seen a handful of Chaffey games, all of them close ones, and he has been the guy making the plays down the stretch.

Fuselier is the only sophomore on a talented, but sometimes erratic Wolverine squad. His statistics don’t stand out in the same way. He is averaging 12 points a game. But the SBVC team is a more balanced one with about eight players able to deliver in double digits any given night.

Fuselier scores when he has to but is also adept at distributing the ball and creating shots for others. He knows his shot and takes smart ones that come in the framework of the offense. He doesn’t force shots that aren’t there.

When there is chaos around him Fuselier is able to keep his cool. His teammates take a cue from him. That was evident on the Wolverines’ 81-78 win over West Los Angeles Saturday.

Both players can take their teams a long way. The teams are separate halves of the draw so both could be representing the Inland Empire in Fresno later this month.

CCAA Tournament schedule and info

The 2009 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship Basketball Tournament opens on Tuesday with first-round games at campus sites. The top eight teams in both the men’s and women’s fields will square off in an attempt to advance toward the tournament title and earn the CCAA’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Cal Poly Pomona (19-6, 15-5) is the top seed on the men’s side, while UC San Diego (26-3, 19-1) is the women’s No. 1 seed.

The tournament format calls for the top four seeds to host first-round games and the winners will advance to the semifinals at Coussoulis Arena on the campus of Cal State Bernardino beginning Friday, March 6. The championship games are scheduled for Saturday, March 6, with the women tipping off at 5 p.m. and the men scheduled to get underway at 7:30 p.m.

Cal Poly Pomona, which tied Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State San Bernardino for the regular season title, earned the No. 1 seed based on tie-breaker formulas and will host No. 8 seed San Francisco State (14-13, 8-12) on Tuesday beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Other men’s first-round contests match No. 7 Cal State Monterey Bay (14-13, 8-12) at No. 2 Cal State Dominguez Hills (21-6, 15-5), 7:30 p.m.; No. 6 Sonoma State (12-15, 8-12) at No. 3 Cal State San Bernardino (17-9, 15-5), 7 p.m.; and No. 5 Humboldt State (20-10, 13-7) at No. 4 UC San Diego (16-10, 13-7), 7:30 p.m.

UC San Diego, which posted the best regular-season conference record on the women’s side since Cal State Bakersfield went 21-1 during the 2002-03 campaign, will host No. 8 Cal State San Bernardino (10-16, 8-12) at 5:30 p.m.

Other first-round games pit No. 7 Cal State Stanislaus (13-14, 8-12) at No. 2 Humboldt State (21-6, 16-4), 7 p.m.; No. 6 San Francisco State (13-14, 8-12), at No. 3 Cal State Dominguez Hills (18-9, 13-7), 5:30 p.m.; and No. 5 Chico State (15-12, 11-9) at No. 4 Cal Poly Pomona (16-13, 12-8), 5:30 p.m.

This season marks the second year of the CCAA Men’s Championship Tournament after it was re-instated following a 15-year absence. UC San Diego ascended from the No. 7 seed to capture the 2008 title.

The Tritons, who finished in a five-way tie for third place during the regular season, recorded a road victory at No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino (63-59, OT) before defeating San Francisco State (72-65) and Cal Poly Pomona (64-56) to capture the conference crown.

Last year also marked the return of women’s postseason for the time since 1998 and Chico State came out on top. The Wildcats claimed the No. 1 seed after posting a 17-3 conference record and claimed the tournament title following victories over Cal State Dominguez Hills (62-45), Cal Poly Pomona (78-74) and UC San Diego (69-63).

Six schools have both their men’s and women’s teams participating in the tournament and three are hosting doubleheaders. UC San Diego, Cal State San Beranrdino, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Humboldt State and San Francisco State have both their men’s and women’s teams competing.

UC San Diego, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Dominguez Hills are hosting both men’s and women’s games.

All of the action can be followed by logging onto www.goccaa.org.

2009 CCAA Tournament Schedule

March 3 (Tue) – At Campus Sites

Women

No. 8 Cal State San Bernardino (10-16, 8-12) at No. 1 UC San Diego (26-3, 19-1); 5:30 p.m.

No. 7 Cal State Stanislaus (13-14, 8-12)) at No. 2 Humboldt State (21-6, 16-4); 7 p.m.

No. 6 San Francisco State (14-13, 8-12) at No. 3 Cal State Dominguez Hills (18-9, 13-7); 5:30 p.m.

No. 5 Chico State (15-12, 11-9) at No. 4 Cal Poly Pomona (16-13, 12-8); 5:30 p.m.

Men

No. 8 San Francisco State (14-13, 8-12) at No. 1 Cal Poly Pomona (19-6, 15-5); 7:30 p.m.

No. 7 Cal State Monterey Bay (14-13, 8-12) at No. 2 Cal State Dominguez Hills (21-6, 15-5); 7:30 p.m.

No. 6 Sonoma State (12-15, 8-12) at No. 3 Cal State San Bernardino (17-9, 15-5); 7 p.m.

No. 5 Humboldt State (20-10, 13-7) at No. 4 UC San Diego (16-10, 13-7); 7:30 p.m.

March 6 (Fri)

Women’s Semifinal Game 1: 12:30 P.M.

Women’s Semifinal Game 2: 3:00 P.M.

Men’s Semifinal Game 1: 5:30 P.M.

Men’s Semifinal Game 2: 8:00 P.M.

March 7 (Sat)

Women’s Championship – 5:00 PM

Men’s Championship – 7:30 PM

2009 CCAA Tournament Ticket Prices

First Round (at campus sites)

Reserved (if available) — $12

General Admission — $10

Students (with ID), Seniors & Youth — $5

Semifinals and Finals

Reserved — $12

General Admission — $10

Students (with ID), Seniors & Youth — $5

*Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the Cal State Bernardino ticket office at (909) 537-5048 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. beginning March 3.

Cal Poly men take 10-game win streak into tourney

It looks like Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball coach Greg Kamansky will be the one getting the last laugh.

He is the first to admit his team hardly looks imposing when it takes the court for pregame warmups. He has been down to eight players for much of the year and those eight don’t look like the most athletic bunch.

But the Broncos (19-6, 15-5) finished tied for first in the CCAA with more physically imposing teams from Cal State San Bernardino (17-9, 15-5) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (21-6, 15-5).

Cal Poly got the tiebreaker and will enter this week’s CCAA Tournament as the top seed. It will host No. 8 San Francisco State (14-13, 8-12) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kellogg Gymnasium. Friday’s semifinals and Saturday’s championship game will be at Coussoulis Arena on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino.

“It’s actually pretty funny,” Kamansky said. “We’re out there with our seven, eight guys and we’re clanking shots all over the place. Other coaches are laughing at us. Fans are laughing at us. I know. I’ve seen it.”

Six weeks ago the Broncos were in desperation mode. They were 9-6 overall and 5-5 in conference play. Kamansky was just hoping to get in the conference tournament. He never imagined being the top seed. But the Broncos swept the back half of their schedule, a significant feat in such a depp conference.

They will head into Tuesday’s game riding a 10-game win streak.

“It just goes to show what can happen when you have good team chemistry and guys believe in the system and their teammates,” Kamansky said.

The Broncos are led by senior Larry Gordon (14 ppg, 10.3 rpg), a mainstay in the lineup for his four years. Austin Swift (10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Walter Thompson (11.6 ppg) have emerged as good complimentary players.

But Kamansky credits the team’s hot streak up to the improved play of his young post players – true freshman Dwyane Fells (5.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and sophomore Tobias Jahn (8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg).

“They have given us a presence in the paint we didn’t have early on” he said. “It adds another dimension to this team.”

While the Broncos have pretty much clinched a spot in the West Region tournament no matter how they fare this week, they still have something to play for.

They are currently ranked third in the region and could move up to second since No. 2 Dominguez Hills lost last week.

If they can finish second they would likely host a four-team sub-regional if the NCAA decides to use that format rather than the traditional eight-team regional at one site.

“Who would have thought?” Kamansky sighed.

CAL POLY WOMEN GET CHICO STATE

The men’s game will follow the 5:30 p.m. women’s game as coach Scott Davis’ team also earned a home game.

The No. 4 seeded Broncos (16-13, 12-8) will host No. 5 Chico State (15-12, 11-9). The teams split during the regular season with each winning on its home floor.

On the season the Broncos are 9-3 at Kellogg Gymnasium.

Unlike the Cal Poly men, the women need a big effort in the tournament. They currently sit eighth in the West Region, despite having two wins over No. 6 Dominguez Hills and one over No. 7 Northwest Nazarene.

“I think we need to win it to get in even though we have those wins over teams ahead of us,” Davis said.

UC San Diego (26-3, 19-1) is the top seed but Davis is most leery of No. 2 Humboldt State (21-6, 16-4) which has won eight straight games.

“They are playing the best right now and they have a lot of weapons,” he said.

Cal State men face must-win in CCAA Tournament

For the Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team the task is simple – win the CCAA tournament or the season is over.

The Coyotes (17-9, 15-5) painted themselves into a corner with losses to Cal Poly Pomona and UC San Diego. Now, there is no margin for error.

The Coyotes open play in the CCAA tournament at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Coussoulis Arena against Sonoma State (12-15, 8-12), with whom they split during the regular season.

The good news for coach Jeff Oliver’s team is that Friday’s semifinals and Saturday’s finals will also be at Coussoulis, where the team is 10-1 this season.

Cal State is ranked 10th in the region and needs to be eighth to secure a spot in the West Region tournament. There are a half a dozen teams in the hunt for the last few spots, a couple of whom are playing in the CCAA event.

The winner of the CCAA tournament gets the conference’s automatic playoff bid.

“We need to win at least two and even that leaves room for doubt,” Oliver said. “We’re going in with the mindset that we have to win three.”

The Coyotes were part of a three-way tie for first with Cal Poly Pomona (19-6, 15-5) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (21-6, 15-5), giving them at least a share of the conference title for the eighth time in 10 years. But the seeding for the tournament came down to a third tiebreaker.

The Broncos, who will host San Francisco State (14-13, 8-12) in an opening-round game, were 2-0 against Cal State Los Angeles (the ninth-place team and the best of the teams that didn’t make the tournament) compared to Cal State Dominguez Hills’ 1-1 mark against the Golden Eagles.

The Coyotes were made the third seed based on their 9-5 record against tournament teams. Both Pomona and Dominguez Hills had 10-4 marks.

That logic mystifies Oliver.

“You’re rewarding Dominguez and Pomona for losing to teams that are the bottom of the barrel, that didn’t make the tournament. That doesn’t make sense,” he said.

While Sonoma State has played the Coyotes tough, it has not had an answer for big man Brandon Brown (20.6 points per game, 8.9 rebounds), who has scored 45 points in the two games against the Seawolves and is coming off a 32-point showing against San Francisco State on Friday.

“He has been dominant,” Oliver said. “He has had head on straight and doing a better job of not letting adversity get to him.”

Cal State women headed south

The Cal State women will need to repeat their upset of two weeks ago to get another home game as they will play their CCAA tournament opener at RIMAC Arena against top-seeded UC San Diego (26-3, 19-1), which also comes in ranked ninth nationally.

Coach Kevin Becker’s team, finishing in a three-way tie for sixth, was last in the pecking order when it came to the tiebreaker, so it was left with the eighth seed.

The Coyotes (10-16, 8-12) were the only conference team to beat the Tritons, doing so 64-59 on Feb. 14, behind the scoring punch of unheralded players Lisa Takata and Ana Onaindia.

“Obviously, they’re going to be ready for us,” Becker said. “We’re going to have to play even better than we did the last time we played them.”