Poor shooting and an inability to control the ball cost Cal Poly Pomona in its 71-56 loss to Chico State in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) semifinal game Friday played at Humboldt State. The loss snapped the Broncos’ six-game winning streak and was their largest loss of the season.
The Broncos, 22-6 overall, now await the NCAA Tournament announcement that will take place Monday. Cal Poly Pomona was ranked fifth in this week’s NCAA West Regional and needs to be among the top eight in the final poll.
Trailing 25-11 with 8:17 remaining in the first half, the Broncos made its only substantial run of the game. A Megan Ford basket in the paint and two free throws from the Newhall native kick-started an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to 27-26 with 3:34 left.
But the Wildcats, who earned their third CCAA Tournament victory over the Broncos in as many years, answered with an 8-0 run of their own and went into halftime leading 36-30.
“We didn’t play the way we are capable of playing,” said Broncos coach Scott Davis. “I thought we played timid, and they were the aggressor from the get-go. It’s disappointing that we didn’t play better. I don’t know how we out-rebounded them because they were in control.”
Junior first-team All-CCAA guard Reyana Colson led the Broncos with a game-high 19 points with five rebounds in 40 minutes of play. But take away Colson’s 6-of-13 effort from the floor and the other Broncos shot a combined 22 percent (10 for 45).
The Broncos committed 22 turnovers and fired 27.6 percent — only .001 better than their season worst effort from the field.
Both Ford and senior Stephisha Walton each had four fouls early in the second half. With both All-CCAA players on the bench, the Broncos couldn’t cut Chico State’s lead. Both players returned to the court with 7:48 left in the game and the Wildcats out front, 55-46.
Walton hit the front end of a two-shot foul that put the Broncos behind by eight — 55-47 with 6:17 remaining. That would be the closest Cal Poly Pomona would get as Chico State led by as large as 17 inside the final two minutes.
The Wildcats (21-8) will play the winner of the second semifinal game against top seed UC San Diego and fourth-seed Humboldt State at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Synchro Bull led Chico State with 15 points, while Pauline Ferrall had 14 and Natasha Smith with 13.
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