An exhibition game between the CSUN Matador women’s basketball team and the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos turned into a lot more on Friday night.
Following a solid first half in which the Matadors led by as many as 17 points, CSUN’s shooting let them down in the second half and the Broncos took advantage, rallying to lead in the later stages and eventually pulling out a 76-72 overtime win.
“The second half, we went away from our game plan and that’s what got us in a deep hole,” said junior guard Ashley Blake.
The Matadors were led by junior guard Whitney Ligon, who scored a team-high 15 points. Senior center Katie Holloway and junior guard Tonicia Tademy scored 12 points each and Blake had 10. Holloway and junior center Crystal Hahs also grabbed 11 rebounds apiece.
Vanessa Dominguez was the only Bronco to reach double figures in points, but Pomona got critical baskets from a variety of Broncos throughout the game. Dominguez also pulled down 14 rebounds.
The first half started out close, but CSUN soon took control at the midpoint of the first half. A 10-0 run turned a small 21-19 lead into a sizable 31-21 advantage. The Matadors led by as many as 17 points and led 42-28 at 3:07, but Pomona closed out the first half on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 44-35 at the halftime break.
“We lost it in the first half when we lost the 14-point lead and it went down to nine,” said head coach Staci Schulz. “It was downhill ever since.”
A Holloway basket at 15:50 gave CSUN a 48-40 lead, but the Broncos caught fire from that point on, going on an 11-0 run over the next nine minutes. The last six points were scored on three-pointers by Cara Briete to give Pomona a 49-48 lead.
Sophomore guard Morgan Pryor hit a three at 6:35 to give CSUN the lead back and a score by Ligon pushed the advantage to four. Pomona stormed back, however, scoring the game’s next five points to take a 55-54 lead. A basket by Tademy wrestled the lead back to the Matadors, but Cassey Brick scored with 4:53 to put the Broncos back in front.
A Bronco three-pointer with 3:23 left had Pomona seemingly in control. Pairs of free throws from Blake and Holloway tied the game and CSUN actually had a chance to win the game as time expired, but Ligon’s three-point attempt was blocked as the buzzer sounded, sending the game into overtime.
Blake put the Matadors up 61-59 with a pair of free throws at 4:44. Dominguez tied the game with her own pair of free throws at 3:51 and a free throw by Ashley Moody put Pomona up one. A Bronco basket at 2:25 raised the lead and following a Tademy free throw, Pomona hit back-to-back three pointers in the final two minutes to seal the win.
“(Pomona) made some adjustments,” Schulz said. “They made us start to play our offense on our heels and we weren’t in very good attack zones.”
After shooting 41 percent from the field in the first half, CSUN’s shooting suddenly went cold. The Matadors hit only five field goals and shot 14 percent from the field. CSUN ended up shooting 29 percent from the field. The Matadors’ shooting woes also carried over into other areas, as CSUN shot 4-21 from the three-point line and 28-47 from the free-throw line.
“We took shots in the second half that were out of the offense,” Schulz said. “We didn’t have a good look, but we would shoot. We made poor decisions in the second half.”
CSUN wraps up its exhibition schedule against the Masters’ College at the Matadome Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
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