VALLEJO – The University of Antelope Valley Pioneers (20-4; 9-1 Cal Pac) clinched a berth in the Cal Pac Championships after rolling to their seventh-consecutive victory on Saturday evening against the Keelhaulers of California State University – Maritime Academy (8-12; 2-8 Cal Pac), 72-52 in intercollegiate California Pacific Conference women’s basketball action inside the Cal Maritime Physical Education Complex.
The field for the 2019 Cal Pac Championships, hosted by UAV, is officially set with Embry-Riddle, UAV, Simpson, and UC Merced all clinching a spot in the tournament later this month, with team seeding the only thing left to be determined with four conference games remaining for each team.
UAV and Embry-Riddle are prepared for a showdown for Cal Pac top-seed supremacy next Saturday afternoon in Lancaster as the Pioneers host the Golden Eagles at 2 p.m. PST. UAV will look to get a level of revenge against Embry-Riddle after the Golden Eagles handed the Pioneers their sole conference loss of the year on Jan. 10, 101-96 in overtime.
Before facing each other, neither team can overlook their mid-week opponents however as Embry-Riddle faces La Sierra and UAV hosts Benedictine-Mesa, each on Thursday evening.
Next Saturday’s contest also marks the regular-season home finale for UAV, which is 12-2 this season at home inside the Pioneer Event Center, as well as Senior Day for the Pioneers’ seven senior players who will be recognized prior to the showdown for the top spot in the Cal Pac.
After trailing CSUM 13-10 after the opening period, the remainder of the contest was all-UAV on Saturday evening as the Pioneers would go on to outscore the Keelhaulers in each remaining quarter, also making 9-of-18 three-pointers (.500) during the contest en route to earning the comfortable 20-point victory, 72-52.
UAV sophomore forward Alexia Budd (Los Angeles, CA) led all Pioneers with 15 points while also adding a game-high eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal, and junior forward Tylen Price (Lancaster, CA) and senior guard Daizah Pounds (Richmond, CA) each added 14 points, with Price also totaling six boards, four assists, three steals, and one block.
Senior guard Samantha Earl (Covina, CA) dropped nine points and stole the ball twice, senior guard Alyssa Gonzales (Bakersfield, CA) finished with eight points, three assists and two steals, and senior forward Ilianna Blanc (Los Angeles, CA) contributed seven points and three rebounds.
UAV hit 25-of-56 field goals (.446), 9-of-18 three-pointers (.500), 13-of-16 free throws (.813), and were outrebounded by the Keelhaulers, 34-32. UAV committed 17 turnovers and stole the ball nine times. CSUM made 16-of-47 shots (.340), 7-of-17 three-pointers (.412) and 13-of-21 free throws (.619) and committed 23 turnovers and stole the ball from UAV 11 times.
Next game: Coached by Deon Price, the Pioneers return home to host the University of Benedictine at Mesa for a California Pacific Conference contest on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. PST inside the Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster.