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March 14, 2017 > CSUEB women repeat as CCAA champions

CSUEB women repeat as CCAA champions

Submitted By Steve Connolly

The 2016-17 Cal State East Bay womenÕs basketball team was crowned champion of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament for the second year in a row after defeating top-seeded UC San Diego 62-53 March 4th in the title game at Cal State San Marcos.

The Pioneers (22-8) earned the conferenceÕs automatic bid to the NCAA Division II West Regionals and will have a chance to compete for the national championship for the second straight season after a 28-year absence from the tournament.

East Bay will take a nine-game winning streak into next weekÕs Regional, whose field and host location will be announced Sunday night during the online selection show. The Pioneers have won 14 of their last 15 overall and will enter the tournament as one of the nationÕs hottest teams.

CCAA Player of the Year Shomari Harris was named CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading all scorers with 24 points in the championship game. She was named to the All-Tournament team along with senior First Team All-CCAA honoree Remy Puou and freshman Second Team All-CCAA pick Morgan Greene.

Puou reached double figures in scoring with 10 points to go with seven rebounds and three blocks. Greene posted double-digit boards for the eighth straight contest, pulling in a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Pioneers out-shot the Tritons 42 percent to 35.6 percent for the game. They were especially hot from long distance, finishing 8-for-18 on three-pointers.

CSUEB got off to an impressive start and led the Tritons 24-19 after Bri Guillory banked home a long three-pointer to beat the first quarter buzzer. UCSD clawed back in a low-scoring second quarter, and the Pioneers took a narrow 31-29 lead into halftime.Ê

East BayÕs defense was stout to open the second half. They held the Tritons to just eight points in the third quarter and led by as many as 13, but UCSD went on a 9-0 run to end the quarter and keep the score tight heading into the final period.Ê

However, Harris and the Pioneers refused to surrender momentum to the talented Triton squad. Kayley Hsiung and Elayshia Woolridge both buried clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter, and the team hit enough free throws down the stretch to quell any hopes of a UCSD comeback.

As they have continually done over the latter half of the season, the Pioneers showed poise and discipline on both sides of the ball to keep their lead in the final minutes.

As a program, CSUEB has a 34-6 record in CCAA regular season games over the last two years with a perfect 6-0 record in the CCAA Tournament. Perhaps someday we will look back on this as the beginning of a dynasty. But for now it stands as one of the most impressive, improbably achievements by a Pioneer team in the UniversityÕs history.

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