Cal Poly had to hold on tightly to win its two regular-season matchups against Pacific this season, and those two wins came by a combined...
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Cal Poly had to hold on tightly to win its two regular-season matchups against Pacific this season, and those two wins came by a combined four points.
With the first Big West Conference tournament championship and NCAA tournament appearance in program history on the line, the Mustangs didn’t let things get that close again.
Ariana Elegado scored a game-high 22 points, and Cal Poly (21-10) beat Pacific 63-49 on Saturday to claim the tournament crown and punch its ticket to the Big Dance.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity,” said Mustangs coach Faith Mimnaugh, who is in her 16th year on the job. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed by it. Sometimes you think it’s never going to happen and that your hard work isn’t going to pay off, but it always does. I tell my team that all the time.”
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Gena Johnson scored 14 points to lead the Tigers (25-7), who entered on a six-game winning streak and were the top seed.
Pacific (25-7) is now 0-5 all-time in Big West tournament championship games and has never been to the NCAA tournament.
Other NCAA bids
• Montana (24-7) punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with a 56-43 victory over Northern Colorado in the Big Sky Conference championship.
• Prairie View A&M (17-14) won its third straight Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament title, beating Mississippi Valley State 100-87 in four overtimes.
• Hampton (28-5) finished an unbeaten season in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play with a 59-38 victory against Howard in the championship game.
• Navy (21-11) won its third straight Patriot League title by defeating Holy Cross 72-53.
• Oral Roberts (18-12) secured its first NCAA tournament berth in five years with a 72-66 win over Sam Houston State in the Southland Conference championship game.
• Southern University (23-9) got its first NCAA tournament berth since 2006 with a 45-44 victory over Prairie View in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship game.
• Central Michigan (21-11) beat Akron 86-68 in the Mid-American Conference championship.
• Saint Joseph’s rallied to beat Fordham 47-46 and win the Atlantic 10, earning the Hawks (23-8) their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2000.
• Top-seeded Albany (27-3) rallied past Hartford 61-52 to win its second straight America East Conference tournament.
• Tulsa (17-16) held off Central Florida 75-66 to win the Conference USA title.
• Fresno State (24-8) beat San Diego State 76-70 to win the Mountain West tournament title.