Cal U women may move up after No. 1 loses
CALIFORNIA - The California University women's basketball team is fourth in the NCAA Division II coaches' poll.
That could change in the next 24 hours.
South Dakota University, the unanimous No. 1 selection, suffered its first loss Thursday to No. 7 North Dakota. The defeat ended a 19-game winning streak and came a week after South Dakota beat the Sioux, 78-62.
However, Seattle Pacific and Bentley - the other two teams ahead of California - kept winning.
No. 2 Seattle Pacific (20-0) disposed of St. Martin's, 73-62, and Northwest Nazarene, 81-74, to remain the country's lone unbeaten team.
No. 3 Bentley (21-2) - which lost to California, 68-67, in the Holiday Inn Classic championship game in November - downed U-Mass-Lowell, 75-61, and Franklin Piece, 83-63, to up its winning streak to 20.
Meanwhile, front-running California (21-1, 7-0) is preparing for possibly its biggest game in the PSAC West at second-place Clarion (14-7, 4-2).
"Without a doubt they're the second best team in the West," said California coach Darcie Vincent. "They'll be gunning for us. We know this is the game they've been waiting for since they lost to us."
Four weeks ago, the Vulcans rolled over Clarion, 70-47, with Becky Siembak (21) and Sameera Philyaw (17) combining for 38 points and Siembak also pulled down 19 rebounds as Cal held a commanding 61-34 advantage under the boards.
Since losing to Cal, Clarion has gone 5-1 and averaged 18 points.
The loss was 95-92 in overtime at home to Indiana.
Clarion is coming off a convincing 92-69 romp over Edinboro, which lost to California, 67-65, 10 days ago.
The Golden Eagles are led by 6-1 sophomore Heather Cigich with 19 points and10 rebounds a game. Cigich has had 11 double-doubles this season including five in the last six games. She had 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss at California.
Allison Stodart, a 5-7 senior, is the only other Clarion player averaging in double figures with 10 points.
California is riding a five-game winning streak and has won 20-in-a-row over PSAC foes.
The Vulcans are led by Siembak, who is fourth in the conference scoring race with an 18.8 average and is second in rebounding with 11.3.
The hottest Vulcan is 5-9 sophomore Sara McKinney, who scored 23 points in each of California's last two wins and was named the PSAC West Player of the Week.
Freshman Megan Storck was named the PSAC West Rookie of the Week after averaging 15 points in two games. She had a career-high 25 at Slippery Rock.
CAL CLIPS: Cigich and Siembak rank one-two in defensive rebounds with 7.1 and 6.9 respectively ... California leads the conference in scoring (78) and defense (53). The Vulcans are also No.1 in rebounding with 45 and allowing 31. Cal and Clarion are one-two in field goal percentage. Cal is shooting 47 percent from the floor and Clarion 45 percent.