STOCKTON, Calif. – Despite overcoming a 20-point first-half deficit, the Humboldt State women's basketball was not able to outlast upset-minded Cal State East Bay as it fell 73-67 Friday in Stockton Arena.
Cal State East Bay advances to the CCAA Tournament championship game and will face No. 1 seed Cal State Dominguez Hills Saturday afternoon. HSU's conference tournament journey ends, but its season is likely far from over. At 23-5 overall and ranked-No. 2 in the West Region poll, the Lumberjacks are almost assured of a spot in the NCAA Regionals expected to be held in Anchorage, Alaska.
"We are fortunate this wasn't our last game. We did not play with urgency," said Head Coach Joddie Gleason. "Cal State East Bay deserved the win today. They were tougher than us and came out ready to compete."
The story of the first half was runs by both teams. After upsetting No. 3 seed Cal Poly Pomona in Thursday's opening round, Cal State East Bay stormed out to a 21-1 lead to open its semifinal bout with HSU.
"We came out complacent and didn't make plays, and they did," said Gleason. "They ran down every loose ball and got every 50-50 ball."
Stephanie Lopez led the way for the Pioneers and scored seven points during the game-opening run. HSU committed six turnovers and came up empty on all seven field goal attempts in the first 8:09.
A 3-pointer from Jae Shin, the CCAA's top shooter from outside the arc, began an 18-0 run for the Green and Gold. The Bellavue, Wash., native paced HSU with seven first-half points, including the drive-starting trey.
Despite a pair of Shin free throws that knotted the game at 29-29 in the half's closing seconds, the Pioneers took a four-point, 33-29, edge into the locker room.
"Jae made some key plays for us," said Gleason. "She was one of our players that stepped up and was ready to go. She played like this was our championship."
The Jacks took their first lead of the game at 8:39 mark of the second period, but their 53-52 lead was short lived as Tori Breshers sank a layup less than a minute later. Breshers finished the game with a team-high 16 points.
Cal State East Bay did not lose its grip of the lead for the remainder of the game and closed out the upset victory. Six Pioneers reached double-digit scoring totals – Breshers (16), Stephanie Lopez (15), Micah Walker (10), Shannon Bland (10) and Laci Effenberger (10).
HSU connected on 35.6 percent of its shots from the field and was 7-for-22 (31.8 percent) from long distance. Shin led the Green and Gold with three treys and a team-leading 19 points.
A'Jaee Foster was the Jacks' rebound leader and pulled down 11 boards to go with nine points.
"This is exactly the atmosphere that the playoffs will have. It's going to be physical and any time you make a mistake or have a mental lapse the other team is going to score," said Gleason. "We have to get a lot tougher. Hopefully we learn that we need to start off games with grit and determination in playoff time."
*HSU Sports Information