Cal Poly holds on to take West Region
Colson scores 28 to pace Broncos and earn MOP honors
POMONA, Calif. -- Behind a spirited Kellogg Gym crowd of 1,103 fans, Cal Poly Pomona captured a West Region title with a 68-61 win against Grand Canyon on Monday.
It's the first regional crown since 2002 for the Broncos, who will now head to St. Joseph, Mo., to compete in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Up next for CPP (28-4) will be a quarterfinal matchup against 19th-ranked Northwest Missouri State on Tuesday, March 22. Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. ET.
In the latest USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll, the Lopes (29-3) came in at No. 7 while the Broncos ranked 23rd.
Reyana Colson led all scorers with 28 points, earning selection as the tournament's Most Outsanding Player honor. Semenero and Ford joined Colson on the all-tournament team for the CPP side, while Samantha Murphy and Jallisa Butler of GCU also received the honor.
The Broncos jumped out to a 6-0 lead, bringing to the CPP crowd to its feet. The hosts continued to push their margin behind a frenetic defense, holding the 'Lopes to just two points through the first 11 minutes. At that point, the Broncos held a 14-2 lead.
The GCU squad didn't fade though, as the 'Lopes chipped away and outscored CPP 17-12 across the final nine minutes of the period. That left the halftime score at 26-19 in favor of the Broncos.
GCU maintained its momentum in the second half, starting the period on a 6-2 spurt, which featured four points from Butler. CPP kicked its advantage up to double digits, when La'kenya Simon West knocked down a trey at the 14:15 mark to make the score 39-29.
The tally remained around that point for much of the remainder of the game, until the 'Lopes made one more dramatic run. A layup from GCU's Rosalyn Nelson cut the margin down to three, 60-57, with 1:19 to play. Ford sunk a jumper from atop the free throw line with 56 seconds left, making it a five-point game at 62-57.
Butler helped the Lopes rally again, dropping in a layup with 35 on the clock to bring it to a one-possession game again. Rosslyn Beard and Semenero proved clutch at the strike for the Broncos, going a combined 4 for 4 in the final 20 seconds to help CPP secure the West Region title.