SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The No. 3-seeded University of Antelope Valley Pioneers (27-6) historic postseason run and season concluded Saturday afternoon after suffering a loss to No. 1 seed Fire of Southeastern University (Fla.) (30-2), 75-60 in intercollegiate NAIA Div. II Women’s Basketball Championships action inside the Tyson Events Center.
Looking back at what proved to be a historic season for the Pioneers, UAV set new records in total wins in a season (27) for a Cal Pac women’s basketball program, made the deepest run in a NAIA Championship event in Cal Pac history, and scored more points in a NAIA National Championship event individual contest (100) than any other team in Cal Pac history.
Head coach Deon Price, UAV’s all-time leader in wins, improves his overall record in two seasons to 49-13, and owns a conference record of 24-4 during that same stretch.
After the game, an emotional Price recapped his team’s historic season by saying, “I’m very proud of this group of girls. They gave me their all and represented UAV well. We wanted a different outcome, but we’re grateful for this opportunity that many teams never get, and after taking a few days off, I’ll be working again to get ready for next year.”
The first quarter was tightly contested as both offenses shooting exactly 5-of-15 from the field with each squad combining to hit just three three-pointers as they would finish the opening period tied, 13-13.
After an uncharacteristic, low-scoring opening period for two teams that each rank in the top-six nationally in points per game, the Fire would take control, shooting 9-of-17 from the floor while holding the Pioneers to just eight points in the quarter en route to taking a 17-point advantage into the intermission, 38-21.
Southeastern would go on to outscore UAV by just three points I the third quarter, 23-20, and despite UAV making a late push in the fourth, outscoring the Fire, 19-14, Southeastern would hold off the Pioneers and go on to earn the victory, 75-60, advancing to play in the semifinal round on Monday, March 11.
UAV junior forward Tylen Price (Lancaster, CA) led all Pioneers with 15 points to go along with nine rebounds, three steals and two assists, and senior guard Samantha Earl (Clovis, CA) and sophomore forward Alexia Budd (Los Angeles, CA) each added 10 points, with Budd also grabbing a game-high 10 boards to complete a double-double.
Senior guard LaChae McColor (Honolulu, HI) contributed with nine points, four rebounds and two assists, senior guard Alyssa Gonzales (Bakersfield, CA) chipped in with seven points, three rebounds and two assists, and junior guard Asia Young (Kansas City, MO) finished with six points and three rebounds.
UAV hit 23-of-70 field goals (.329), 7-of-32 three-pointers (.219), 7-of-9 free throws (.778), and outrebounded the Fire, 41-40. UAV committed 17 turnovers and stole the ball six times. Southeastern made 26-of-56 shots (.273), 6-of-22 three-pointers (.273) and 17-of-23 free throws (.739) and committed 18 turnovers and stole the ball from UAV 10 times.