In the six years that it has competed in California Collegiate Athletic Assn. women's basketball, Cal Poly Pomona has never finished worse than tied for the title.
So it is no surprise that the Broncos, who have an impressive 68-3 all-time record in conference play, are favored to win the conference again heading into their CCAA opener against UC Riverside at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Poly Pavilion in Pomona.
The Broncos, who finished second nationally in the NCAA Division II last season, entered this week ranked No. 6 in the division with an 11-2 record that includes a 7-1 mark against Division I teams.
Riverside, 9-4, entered the week in a tie for 19th in the Division II rankings and has a strong front line. The starters are forwards Laura Spellacy and Debbie Arnold and center Patti Held. Spellacy averages 12.8 points, Arnold 11.6 and Held 11.7.
But the Highlanders have not played as difficult a schedule as Pomona and have not beaten the Broncos in 15 tries.
Riverside will have to contend with three of the top offensive players in the conference in junior guard Cathy Gooden (5-5), sophomore center Niki Bracken (6-2) and junior forward Marcine Edmonds (6-1).
Gooden is averaging 18.4 points and has made 39.2% of her three-point shot attempts; Edmonds is averaging 15.2 points and has made a conference-leading 65.5% of field-goal attempts, and Bracken is averaging 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.
The Broncos have received strong all-around play from the only senior on their 12-player roster, 5-8 guard Paula Tezak, who averages 7.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists.
"Tezak gives us guidance," Coach Darlene May said. "What she does on the front of the press is unreal. She's awesome up there. She is on a mission. Paula has the opportunity to be the first player in history to compete in four straight women's basketball national championships."
Pomona's other starter in its 61-39 win over Division I Northern Arizona last week was freshman guard Carrie Egan (5-8) from Brea Olinda, who was the CIF Southern Section 3-A player of the year last season. "Carrie Egan did well the other night and starting her opens up different things for us to do, especially with our substitutions," May said.
The Riverside game will be the third this week for the Broncos, who played San Diego State on Tuesday and entertain Utah at 7:30 p.m. in non-conference match-ups against Division I teams.
Junior Lupe Quintana of Cal State Los Angeles will be in the spotlight when the Golden Eagles open California Collegiate Athletic Assn. women's basketball play against Cal State Northridge at 5:45 p.m. Friday at Northridge.
The 6-0 center needs only 10 rebounds to become the school's all-time rebounder with 692. Quintana, who averages a team-high 16.9 points and 10.9 rebounds, is seventh on the all-time CCAA rebounding list.
It will be a match-up of two of the top three teams in the conference last season. Cal State L. A. has an 8-5 record after finishing third in the CCAA last season and Northridge is 6-8 after finishing second a year ago. Cal Poly Pomona won the title.
Northridge, which has won three of its last four games, has been led by 6-1 sophomore center Kathleen Dixon, junior guard Vicki Mallett (5-9) and freshman guard Bridgette Ealy (5-8).
In addition to Quintana, the Golden Eagles have been led on offense by 5-10 forward Sue Doody and 6-0 forward Tina Slatinsky. Doody, a senior, is averaging 13.3 points and 8 rebounds and Slatinsky, a sophomore, is averaging 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles also have a solid floor leader in 5-6 senior guard Geri Montanio, who averages 7.6 points and 5.2 assists.
Cal State L. A. will play host to the Australian National Team at 5:15 p.m. Monday.
Cal State Los Angeles junior tennis standout Edna Olivarez has been selected as a wild-card entrant for the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Assn. Small College Indoor Championships on Feb. 3-4 at the University of Minnesota.
"We felt she had a very good chance of making the field," Cal State Coach Tom Yamaguchi said. "She was ranked No. 1 (in NCAA Division II) last season. She has the opportunity to be seeded first or second in the championships."
Her toughest competition in the eight-player field may come from California Collegiate Athletic Assn. rival Xenia Anastasiadou of Cal Poly Pomona, who defeated Olivarez (7-5, 6-0) in the western regional final of the tournament in October.
Olivarez, who made the ITCA All-American team last year, has reached the Division II semifinals in singles two straight years. She is 78-10 in singles and 22-0 in CCAA competition.