California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Women’s hoops lose in conference championship

CSUEB+senior+guard+Sharissa+Estremera+drives+to+the+basket.
CSUEB senior guard Sharissa Estremera drives to the basket.

CSUEB senior guard Sharissa Estremera drives to the basket.

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

CSUEB senior guard Sharissa Estremera drives to the basket.

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

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The Cal State East Bay women’s basketball team became the first team in school history to win a game in the postseason as a NCAA Division II member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association since the school joined the division five years ago, but fell short of claiming the championship title in the finals.

CSUEB saw its historic run come to an end against the No. 1 ranked team in the conference, the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros, in the championship game by a final of 76-57. The Pioneers (20-11 overall, 13-9 conference) defeated the third ranked Cal Poly Pomona Broncos 75-70 on Thursday and then defeated the second ranked Humboldt State Jacks 73-67 on Friday to advance to the championship game of the tournament.

The NCAA selection committee announced the 64 teams that would participate in the 2015 NCAA Division II tournament on Sunday and the list did not include the Pioneers who could have received an automatic berth with the conference tournament win.

All conference champions receive an automatic bid to the tournament while a selection committee decides the “at-large” teams that fill the rest of the field of 64 teams based primarily on record and strength of schedule.

Things got off to a great start for the Pioneers and despite a nine-point halftime deficit CSUEB managed to claw its way back into the game and defeat the Broncos (19-8, 17-5) by five points in their first game. Senior guard Stephanie Lopez led the way for CSUEB with 20 points and five assists in a game-high 36 minutes on the floor.

However, it was CSUEB junior guard Laci Effenberger that helped secure the win for the Pioneers as she amassed 15 of her 17 points in the second half. Effenberger nailed a three-pointer with 4:52 left in the game that gave the Pioneers their first lead of the game, 57-56.

“[Effenberger] was instrumental in the first half of keeping us in the game,” CSUEB Head Coach Suzy Barcomb said. “Laci provided us with leadership and calmness. She is so competitive and was a big reason why we were able to pull out the win.”

CSUEB advanced to take on Humboldt State who beat the Pioneers twice this year during the regular season. The Jacks beat the Pioneers first on Jan. 15, 68-66 and then again on Feb. 21 which was senior night for CSUEB, 69-67.

The Pioneers advanced to the conference championship game after they beat Humboldt State (23-5, 19-3) in their third meeting this year, 73-67 in the semifinal round on Friday. CSUEB had six players score in double figures that included a double-double from junior forward Tori Breshers, who finished the game with 16 points, ten rebounds and four steals.

“Those types of games you don’t want anybody to lose because they are heartbreaking either way,” Barcomb said. “It’s really hard to beat someone three times.”
CSUEB sophomore and Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward alum Remy Puou recorded 12 points and seven rebounds and senior forward Micah Walker had ten points, six rebounds and three steals in the victory. Effenberger also scored in double figures with ten points.

“We deserve to be here and we battled to get here,” Effenberger said. “To lose by two [to Humboldt State] and then to lose by two again on senior night at home is why this win is such a great feeling.”

The win propelled the Pioneers to the CCAA conference championship game on Saturday where they lost to the Toros (26-6, 19-3) 76-57. The Pioneers found themselves down by just two points at the half, 33-31. The Toros turned things around in the second half and outscored Cal State East Bay by 17 points, 43-26.

Toros junior guard Breanne Garcia was explosive in the championship win over CSUEB and recorded 15 points and five assists on her way to the tournament’s most valuable player award. CSUDH captured their second consecutive conference championship in just the third year for Head Coach Molly Goodenbour.

“I’ve said all year long that [Garcia] is the heart and soul of this team,” Goodenbour said. “She is small in stature but has a tremendous heart and a tremendous will that go beyond her size.”

CSUDH’s offense exploded in the second half and they finished the game with five players scoring in double figures in points.
“It was an excellent game against a good team, but we came out on top,” Garcia said.

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Women’s hoops lose in conference championship