Pioneer guard-forward Brianna Terrance (14) is shown shooting for two points in a recent game.
After clinching the eighth and final spot in the playoffs of the California Collegiate Athletic Association on the last night of the regular season on Feb. 24, the Cal State East Bay women's basketball team was officially named the No. 7 seed when the tournament field was announced by the conference on Saturday morning. The Pioneers (12-16, 9-13 CCAA) will meet No. 2 seed Cal State Monterey Bay in the CCAA Tournament First Round on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Seaside.
Cal State East Bay won seven of its final 12 games of the regular season to make a late playoff push, but had to rely on a Humboldt State win over Cal State San Bernardino on Friday night to secure the final spot. The Pioneers finished tied with Sonoma State for seventh place in the CCAA standings, but held the tiebreaker with the Seawolves to claim the No. 7 seed and avoid a matchup with No. 1-seeded and top-ranked UC San Diego. A four-game winning streak from Feb. 2-11 was the key to East Bay's final surge as the Pioneers toppled three opponents they had lost to in the first half of the season, including then-No. 22 Cal Poly Pomona.
"Our goals remained the same throughout the season, no matter how far back we were in the standings, how the injuries began to pile up, or how tough our the next opponent," Head Coach Suzy Barcomb said. "We wanted to earn a CCAA tournament berth. I thought double digit wins would just get us into the tournament, so I was thrilled when we earned the seventh seed. Our second half of the CCAA season was a testament to the heart and passion of this team."
The CCAA Tournament berth marks a first for both the program and Cal State East Bay as a whole. The women's basketball team will be the first to represent the university in a CCAA playoff game in the first year that the Pioneers are eligible for CCAA postseason play after spending the last three years in the transition process before being granted active member status in Division II in July 2011.
Cal State Monterey Bay finished the regular season with an 18-8 overall record and a 15-7 mark in CCAA play. The Otters took claimed both matchups with the Pioneers this season, including a 68-57 victory two weeks ago at the Kelp Bed. Monterey Bay has also claimed each of the last six meetings since East Bay joined the CCAA during the 2009-10 season.
"Our upcoming opponent has had the upper-hand on us this year," Barcomb said. "Monterey Bay is a seasoned tournament team, while we are newcomers to this. We want to make CSUEB proud by playing up to our abilities and not allowing the goal of earning a playoff berth be good enough. We don't want to settle for just making the tournament. We want to compete in the tournament. We must play a higher caliber of basketball than we did at the end league play and obviously how we previously played against Monterey Bay this year."
UC San Diego claimed the No. 1 seed after capturing the 2011-12 CCAA regular season title and going 21-1 in conference play and will host eighth-seeded Sonoma State in the first round. Monterey Bay claimed the tiebreaker with two wins over Cal Poly Pomona, who finished with a 15-7 league record to take the No. 3 seed and will welcome No. 6 seed Cal State LA, which finished 14-8 in the CCAA. Fourth-seeded Humboldt State (15-7) will meet No. 5 seed Chico State (14-8) in Arcata on Tuesday.
All 16 men’s and women’s teams will open the CCAA Championship Tournament on Tuesday at the site of the top four seeds. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday, Mar. 2, at RIMAC Arena on the campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla. The championship games will take place on Saturday, Mar. 3.
2012 CCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Schedule
Tuesday – February 28 – First Round (At Campus Sites)
No. 7 Cal State East Bay at No. 2 Cal State Monterey Bay; 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Chico State at No. 4 Humboldt State; 5:30 p.m.
No. 6 Cal State L.A. at No. 3 Cal Poly Pomona; 5:30 p.m.
No. 8 Sonoma State at No. 1 UC San Diego; 7 p.m.