After clinching its eighth straight California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title last week, the Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball team will attempt to complete its second consecutive undefeated conference season in its last regular-season games tonight and Saturday.
The Broncos, 21-4 overall, 10-0 in the CCAA and ranked No. 2 nationally in NCAA Division II, host 16th-ranked Cal State Northridge at 6 tonight in Kellogg Gym and Cal State Los Angeles at 8:05 p.m. Saturday at Poly Pavilion.
Pomona enters the game against Northridge having won 26 straight conference games since losing to Cal State Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 1987. The Broncos clinched the title in their last game, 61-56 over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, despite the absence of All-America center Niki Bracken with an ankle injury.
That made Pomona's eighth title in a row even more pleasing for Coach Darlene May.
"Our injury situation was as difficult as any year that I have ever experienced," May said. "But these kids showed a lot of intestinal fortitude when things appeared down. We have a couple of All-America athletes in Cathy Gooden and Niki Bracken but our non-All-Americas have played a great role in our success."
In Bracken's absence last week, point guard Gooden and forwards Susan Luckinbill and Stephanie Coons led the Broncos. On the season, Bracken is averaging 19.4 points and 8.9 rebounds to lead Pomona and Gooden 15.9 points and 5.5 assists. The Broncos also start Luckinbill and Coons at forward and Carrie Egan at guard.
Pomona's games this week could provide a preview of the CCAA post-season tournament that starts March 2 at an undetermined site. That's because Northridge and Cal State L.A. are tied for third in the conference and both have already wrapped up berths in the four-team tournament.
Northridge, 18-7 overall and 6-4 in the CCAA, has three players averaging in double figures led by center Chris Cavalin. The 5-10 senior, who averages 15 points and 9.7 rebounds, did not play in the first meeting between the teams Feb. 2 when the Broncos won 64-53.
The Matadors, who have lost to Pomona 26 straight times since 1975, have two other top offensive players in forward Julie Arlotto (5-11) and guard Bridgette Ealy (5-8). Arlotto is averaging 13.2 points and Ealy 11.5.
Cal State L.A., 15-11 and 6-4, has one of the premier inside players in the conference in senior center Lupe Quintana (6-0). The conference's all-time leading rebounder, Quintana averages 14.5 points and 11.2 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles, who defeated conference rivals Cal State Dominguez Hills and Chapman last week, also start 6-0 forwards Trisha Maly and Tina Slatinsky on a strong front line. Slatinsky is averaging 13 points and Maly 11.4.
Before facing Pomona, the Golden Eagles visit UC Riverside for a conference game at 5:45 p.m. today.
Azusa Pacific University will try to clinch at least a share of its first Golden State Athletic Conference championship in women's basketball when it visits Christ College of Irvine in its regular-season finale at 5:15 p.m. Friday.
With two conference wins last week, the Cougars entered this week tied for first in the GSAC with Fresno Pacific at 9-2. Azusa Pacific is 20-9 overall.
Azusa will be matched against a Christ College squad that is tied with Southern California College for last in the conference at 1-9.
The Cougars have been led by 6-2 junior center Amy Walter, who averages a conference-leading 28 points and 12.1 rebounds. Two other front-line leaders for Azusa Pacific are forwards Holly Ingersoll (5-11) and Christy Pollard (5-10).
Azusa Pacific has already assured itself of a berth in the NAIA District III playoffs that start next week.
Coaches have been named for the 10th annual National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Game on July 21 at Arroyo High School in El Monte.
Jim Hall, who coaches Rosemead High, will direct the West team and David Merrill from Wilson of Hacienda Heights will coach the East squad. The all-star game will feature 70 of the top graduating high school seniors in the San Gabriel Valley area.