Cal U teams set to tip off today
The PSAC men's and women's basketball tournaments tip off today, with both California University teams in the field.
For how long is another matter.
The women (19-7) are seeded fourth in the West and play host to No. 5 West seed Clarion (13-15) at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.
The men (12-14) are the sixth seed in the West and visit No. 3 West seed Slippery Rock (19-7) at 7 p.m.
In the women's tourney, the Vulcans are coming off a 68-64 win over Clarion on Wednesday.
Cal is 3-1 against Clarion under coach Jess Strom and has won five of the last six meetings between the teams dating back to the 2010-11 season.
The teams have met two times in the PSAC Tournament with Cal winning both encounters, the most recent being a 60-57 victory in 2009.
The Vulcans are led by 5-7 senior Stephanie Michael, who averages 13.8 points per game.
Teammate Emma Mahady, a 5-11 sophomore, averages just under double-digits at 9.3 ppg. She also averages 4.1 rebounds.
Rounding out Cal's starting five will be 5-11 sophomore Irina Kukoli (8.1 ppg, 5.2 rebs.), 6-3 junior Elena Antonenko (7.7 ppg., 5.8 rebs.) and 5-7 junior Kate Seebohm (5.7 ppg, 5.2 assists).
Seebohm ranks second in the conference with 134 assists.
Clarion's key player is forward Hannah Heeter, who scores 14.5 ppg and also averages 13.3 rebounds. However, in her career against Cal, Heeter has averaged 16.8 points and 15 rebounds.
In a game last season, Heeter grabbed 25 rebounds and scored 22 points in a 72-69 overtime win, the Golden Eagles' lone victory over Cal in the last six games.
The winner of tonight's game will face PSAC West champ and top seed Gannon (26-3) in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In the men's tournament, the Vulcans will be in the playoffs for the 13th season under veteran coach Bill Brown. They won the PSAC tourney in 1999 and 2008.
Cal is 0-4 in its last four meetings against Slippery Rock, including an 85-53 pounding at the hands of the Rockets a week ago.
Cal hasn't won at Monroe Field House since 2010.
Senior Keith Lowe (6-2) leads Cal in scoring with an average of 15.5 ppg. He also averages 4.9 rebounds and leads the team in assists with 3.9 per game.
Fellow senior Quentin Harding (6-5) averages 10.3 ppg and 5.0 rebounds for the Vulcans.
Others starters for Cal are 6-5 senior Mitchell Weedon (7.3 ppg., 4.7 rebs.), 6-5 junior Chris Williams (6.4 ppg., 4.2 rebs.) and 6-0 freshman Jake Jacubec (6.7 ppg.).
The Rockets are 11-2 at home this season, and Slippery Rock is the top rebounding team in the PSAC, averaging 45.9 rebounds per game. Devin Taylor averages 10 rebounds for The Rock, while teammate Gerald Brooks averages 8.7 rebs.
In the recent loss to Slippery Rock, Cal was outrebounded 51-25.
The winner of tonight's game will go against PSAC West champ and top seed Indiana (21-5) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. A starting time has yet to be determined.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.