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College Division : Cal Poly Pomona Women Seek Another Title

If Cal Poly Pomona has slightly higher expectations than most teams heading into the start of the National Collegiate Athletic Assn.'s Division II women’s basketball playoffs, there is plenty of justification.

The Broncos certainly have a good track record.

In the eight years that the NCAA has held competition in women’s basketball, Pomona has won three championships and made five trips to the Final Four.

When it comes to the Division II West Regional, the dominance of the Broncos has been even more impressive. Pomona has won seven of the eight years, losing only to Chapman in 1984.

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The Broncos, ranked No. 3 in Division II with a 24-5 record, are favored again this year. They open play in the West Regional tonight against Cal State Hayward (13-14) at Cal Poly Pomona’s Kellogg Gym.

Cal Poly Pomona Coach Darlene May said: “I think it’s realistic for us to get to the Final Four. (But) we just can’t look past anybody along the way.”

May, who has the most coaching wins in Division II history with a 393-90 record in 15 seasons, says she is not about to look past tonight’s first-round game against Hayward.

“To me it’s a concern to play anybody,” May said. “It doesn’t matter what their record is. It’s a one-game season now.”

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Hayward earned an automatic berth in the Division II tournament by winning the Northern California Athletic Conference Tournament last week, defeating Humboldt State and Cal State Chico along the way.

The Pioneers, who defeated Chico in the tournament final, 61-44, will be making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament. Hayward, under first-year Coach Dennis Frese, is led by 5-foot-6 guard Alicia James and 6-2 center Lori Zaragoza.

The Broncos won their fourth consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Assn. Tournament title last Saturday by defeating Cal State Northridge, 75-62. Center Niki Bracken was named most valuable player for the second year in a row.

Bracken, a 6-2 junior, had been slowed in recent games by an ankle sprain but scored 47 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in the conference tournament. She had 30 points against Northridge and is averaging a team-leading 18.9 points and 8.8 rebounds for the season.

Pomona also has All-American point guard Cathy Gooden, 5-5, who averages 15.6 points and 5.4 assists, and 5-9 forward Sue Luckinbill, who averages 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds.

The only other top-20 team in the West Regional is 14th-ranked Northridge (21-8), which faces Florida Atlantic (21-7) in the opening game of the regional at 6 p.m., before Pomona plays Hayward at 8. The winners will meet for the championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

It will mark the first NCAA appearance for Florida Atlantic, which has suffered five of its seven losses to Division I teams. The Owls are led by forwards Valene Harris and Vicki Bentkowski.

Northridge, making its second appearance in the NCAA tournament, has been paced by all-conference players Chris Cavalin at forward and Bridgette Ealy at guard. Cavalin averages 15.1 points and 9.6 rebounds and Ealy 12.7 points and 6 rebounds.

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Just when it appeared that things couldn’t get much worse for the Cal State Los Angeles men’s basketball team, they did last week.

The Golden Eagles thought they had seen their last loss of the season with a 97-58 setback to Cal Poly Pomona on Feb. 25.

But the team learned last week that it would have to forfeit its only win of the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. season, a 79-67 decision over Pomona on Feb. 4, because it had used an ineligible player, 6-6 junior forward Omar Bray. “It’s a situation that we regret because of the hard work Omar and the team have put in this season,” said Carol Dunn, interim athletic director. “But we have standards to maintain and we must enforce them, no matter how painful they may be.”

The forfeit loss dropped the Golden Eagles to 0-14 in conference play--the second consecutive season that they have not won a conference game--and 2-25 overall. Over the last two seasons the team has a forgettable record of 0-28 in the CCAA and 4-48 overall.

The Biola men’s basketball team was in a familiar position when it beat Southern California College for the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District III title Tuesday night.

The Eagles (29-7) won their sixth district title in the 1980s, at the same time avenging two regular-season losses to Southern California College, which finished at 28-4.

Biola will go on to the 32-team NAIA national tournament starting next Tuesday at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City.

College Division Notes

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When the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team won its first game in the CCAA tournament last week, it established a new school record for wins in a season with 21. . . . With its subsequent victory over that same Northridge team, the Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team improved its all-time record in the CCAA tournament to 8-0. The Broncos also have won the regular-season title eight straight years.

UC Riverside is the only men’s basketball team that has competed all four years in the CCAA tournament. The Highlanders won the title for the second time with an 87-83 victory over Chapman last Saturday. The win earned the Highlanders a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Senior pitcher Rick Davis of Cal State Dominguez Hills suffered his first defeat of the season in a 4-1 setback to Chapman last Saturday but still has been among the most impressive players in the Southland among College Division teams. A shortstop last season, Davis has a 4-1 record and a 2.01 earned-run average with 76 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings pitched and has held opponents to a .154 batting average.

The Pomona-Pitzer men’s basketball team lost to Cal State Stanislaus in the NCAA Division III West Regional semifinals, 90-78, then defeated Wartburg of Iowa, 80-67, in the third-place game last week to finish its season at 18-10.


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