Behind a spirited Kellogg Gym crowd of 1,103 fans, the Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team captured the West Region title with a 68-61 win over the Grand Canyon University Antelopes. It’s the first regional crown since 2002 for the Broncos (28-4), who will now head to St. Joseph, Mo., to compete in the Elite Eight stage of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Up next will be a quarterfinal match against 19th-ranked Northwest Missouri State on Tuesday, March 22. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PDT. The game will be streamed on NCAA.com:
“It’s been a while since this program has been on top,” Megan Ford said after the postgame ceremony. “And we’re back,” Sarah Semenero chimed in.
Reyana Colson led all scorers with 28 points, earning selection as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Semenero and Ford joined Colson on the All-Tournament Team, while Samantha Murphy and Jallisa Butler of Grand Canyon also received the honor.
The Broncos started fast, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and bringing Bronco fans to their feet. Cal Poly Pomona continued to push its margin behind a frenetic defense, holding Grand Canyon to just two points through the first 11 minutes. At that point, the Broncos held a 14-2 lead.
But Grand Canyon didn’t fade, chipping away and outscoring the Broncos 17-12 in the final nine minutes of the first half and cutting Cal Poly Pomona’s lead to 26-19.
Grand Canyon maintained its momentum in the second half, starting with a 6-2 spurt, which featured four points from Butler. The Broncos responded, however and built their lead to 10 points, 39-29, when La’kenya Simon West hit a three-point shot.
The margin remained around that point for much of the remainder of the game until the Antelopes made one more dramatic run. A layup by Rosalyn Nelson cut the margin to three, 60-57, with 1:19 to play. The Broncos responded, with Ford sinking a jumper from atop the free throw line with 56 seconds left, bringing the score to 62-57.
Butler helped the Antelopes rally again, making a layup with 35 seconds remaining to make it to a one-possession game again, but Rosslyn Beard and Semenero made a combined four free throws in the final 20 seconds to help Cal Poly Pomona secure the West Region title.