The greatest season in the history of Cal State East Bay women's basketball came to an end on March 11 as the Pioneers fell to No. 21 UC San Diego 74-59 in the first round of the NCAA Division II West Regionals.
It was the third matchup of the season between East Bay and UCSD, who shared the CCAA regular season title with identical 18-2 records. The Tritons won 56-54 during the regular season, then the Pioneers earned a 79-77 overtime victory in the CCAA semifinals en route to CSUEB's first-ever tournament championship.
UCSD entered the NCAA West Regional as the No. 4 seed, with the Pioneers slotted at No. 5. The rubber match between the two squads was not an instant classic like the previous two, as East Bay struggled to hit shots with consistency throughout the evening. The Tritons (25-4) ultimately put an end to the East Bay's 14-game winning streak, and the Pioneers finished their historic season with a record of 27-5.
"We had too many missed opportunities close to the rim," said head coach Suzy Barcomb. "As a team we can't miss those scoring opportunities and expect to beat a very talented Triton team. I don't think UCSD was a fourth seed team — I firmly believe they are one of the best teams in this tournament."
All four of East Bay's senior starters scored in double figures in their final game donning the red and black. Tori Breshers led the way with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks, going 7-for-16 from the field. Madison Craig scored 14 and grabbed five boards. Bland and Effenberger added 10 points each and combined for nine assists. The Pioneers shot 41.7 percent from the field, but went just 4-for-17 from long distance.
"In our locker room after the game there was disappointment, but not sadness," Barcomb said. "We have accomplished so much this season and have many reasons to hold our head high."
Breshers, a two-time All-CCAA honoree and the all-time leading scorer in program history, finished her four-year career holding four school records. Effenberger battled back from numerous injuries over the course of her career and was among the top three-point shooters in the nation the past two seasons.
As a team, this year's Pioneers established new school records for victories and winning percentage. Led by six standout seniors and the No. 3 ranked scoring defense in the nation, this Cal State East Bay squad raised the bar for success at the Division II level.