ERIE, Pa. — Former East Union High star Danelle (Liles) Bishop and the Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team had their NCAA Division II postseason run cut short by top-ranked Bentley, which won 77-62 in the semifinals Wednesday at Erie Insurance Arena.
“It’s unfortunate it wasn’t our greatest night tonight,” said Bishop, CPP’s fourth-year head coach and a finalist for the inaugural Pat Summitt Trophy. “I told the team there’s more to life than basketball. People may not remember this game, but they will remember our team.”
Bentley (34-0) Waltham, Mass is gunning for a perfect season on Friday starting at 4 p.m. Pacific when it squares off with West Texas A&M for the national championship.
No. 5 Cal Poly Pomona (26-7) struggled from the field (34.9 percent) and foul trouble while Bentley had two players come through with double-double efforts. Lauren Battista led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Jada Blackwell, CPP’s All-American and Player of the Year candidate, scored 22 points but played only 28 minutes before fouling out.
The Broncos reached the NCAA Division II Final Four for the first time since 2002 and captured its second West Regional title under Bishop’s guidance. She aims to lead Cal Poly Pomona to its sixth national championship — their five is most among Division II schools — next year with Blackwell and her core group coming back.
“We definitely want to be back here next year,” she said. “We have everyone returning but one, so that’s exciting and something for us to look forward to.”