For the ninth consecutive season, the Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball team has qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs.
But for the first time ever, the Broncos will have to open the tournament away from home.
Pomona will travel to UC Davis for the Division II West Regional on Friday and Saturday in Davis. The Broncos, who are 25-3 and ranked No. 2 in Division II behind defending champion Delta State of Mississippi, enter the regional tournament as the top seed.
The Broncos will meet unranked Air Force (20-7) in the first round at 6 p.m. Friday, and 17th-ranked Cal State Stanislaus (21-6) will play unranked Davis (20-7) in the other opening game at 8. The winners meet for the regional title Saturday.
Pomona, which reached the Division II final last season and has reached the title game in six of the eight seasons since the NCAA formed the division, tuned up for postseason play by easily winning its fifth straight California Collegiate Athletic Assn. Tournament championship.
The Broncos, who had earlier posted a 12-0 record in winning their ninth straight regular-season conference title, coasted to a 79-47 win over Cal State Northridge in the final of the conference tournament.
They won their fifth straight CCAA tournament behind the play of center Niki Bracken and forward Marcine Edmonds--two seniors who have led the team most of the season.
Bracken, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, made the Division II All-America squad last season and has averaged 19.2 points and 9.6 rebounds this season. Edmonds, who also made the all-tournament team, is averaging 13.5 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Pomona has also been sparked by junior guard Stephanie Coons (5-11), who averages 9.3 points and a team-leading 5.1 assists, and reserve center Danielle Carter (6-2), a freshman averaging 10.3 points and 7.1 rebounds.
They will face an Air Force squad that won the Continental Divide Conference with an 8-4 record led by 6-0 senior center Melissa Stanley, who averages 20.5 points and 10 rebounds. Two other Falcons scoring in double figures are forwards Shelley McCombs (6-0) at 13.1 points and Ginger Wallace (5-9) at 11.
Senior Niki Bracken of the Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball team, who was named to the NCAA Division II All-America team as a junior, has been selected California Collegiate Athletic Assn. player of the year.
Bracken, a 6-2 center, was the top scorer and rebounder in the conference as a senior. She was an all-conference first team selection last year and a second-team choice as a freshman and sophomore.
Pomona, which won the conference title for the ninth straight season, also placed 6-1 senior forward Marcine Edmonds on the first team. In addition, 6-2 freshman center Danielle Carter was named to the second team and guards Stephanie Coons and Denise Ogburn received honorable mention.
Cal State Los Angeles also added a first-team selection in senior Anita Martinez, a 5-3 guard who finished among the CCAA leaders in assists and steals.
In men's basketball, Pomona and Cal State L.A. each placed one player on the all-conference first team. They are forwards Terry Ross of Pomona and LaVar Ball of Cal State L.A.
Ross, a 6-6 junior, averaged a conference-leading 21.7 points and 12 rebounds. Ross finished fourth in Division II in rebounding.
Ball, a 6-6 senior who transferred from Washington State University, also ranked among the conference leaders with an average of 16.4 points and nine rebounds.