The California Vulcans women’s basketball team is starting to create a new name for themselves. With recent dominant play in the fourth quarter, plus a strong ability to close out games, these Vulcans are beginning to be known as the “Fourth Quarter Vulcans.”
That name came into play again Tuesday night with the Vulcans coming from behind again to score a 75-67 win over the Edinboro Fighting Scots in the quarterfinal round of the PSAC tournament.
Through three quarters, Edinboro had the defending national champs on the ropes. With a four-point lead entering the final 10 minutes, the Fighting Scots simply fell into the trap other teams have against the Vulcans recently. Cal (22-5) outscored the Fighting Scots 22-10 in the fourth quarter to get their second win over Edinboro in seven days.
This game was a complete opposite of last Wednesday’s 31-point Vulcans blowout. Last week the Fighting Scots were held without a three-pointer for the first time all season. Tuesday night, Edinboro (20-10) used three-pointers to overcome an early deficit and control most of the first half. After gaining a five-point lead at halftime, the Fighting Scots stretched their lead to ten points midway through the third quarter, quieting the raucous crowd at Cal’s famed Hamer Hall.
Cal’s lone senior, Paige Wright, capped off the third quarter with a huge three-pointer that truly changed the game. Wright ignited the fourth quarter with her three, and helped play the part of an unsung hero in the game with a season-high 14 points. Multiple Vulcans helped pick up the PSAC’s leading scorer, Miki Glenn, after she started the game shooting 1-of-6. Precious Martin was the other hero to the contest, playing a brilliant game by leading all Vulcan players with 20 points. Even with the tough start, Glenn still managed to get 18 points
This loss will most likely end the Fighting Scots season. Edinboro sat No. 10 in the Atlantic regional rankings a week ago, and will not have any more opportunities to get to the No. 8 spot before Selection Sunday. After not having any points last Wednesday against the Vulcans, Michelle Jahn finished with a game-high 24 points, capping her breakout freshman season. In most likely her final collegiate game, Aignee Freeland had just eight points after thrashing Cal last week for 25.
As for the Vulcans, they have now locked up hosting rights for this weekend’s PSAC Final Four. They will host Shippensburg Saturday afternoon in the second of the two semifinal games. The Red Raiders will provide another big challenge for Cal, but they better be ready for that last quarter or they will stand as yet another victim for the “Fourth Quarter Vulcans.”
IUP 75 Gannon 70: Last week’s upset loss to Seton Hill left IUP with little margin of error entering the PSAC tournament. The Crimson Hawks were ranked No. 8 in last week’s Atlantic region rankings that came out a few hours before their loss in Greensburg. IUP entered Tuesday knowing a loss to Gannon at home in the PSAC quarterfinals could very well end a once promising season. That fear went away with the Crimson Hawks defeating the Lady Knights 75-70 to advance to the PSAC quarterfinals for a second straight season. Early on it seemed as IUP was going to run away from the Lady Knights. The Crimson Hawks dominated the first half completely, staking a nine point lead at halftime.
However, things quickly began to slip away from IUP (20-7) in the third quarter as the Lady Knights stormed back to actually take a three point lead. Backs against the wall, the Crimson Hawks punched back to take a one point lead into the final quarter.
Gannon (17-11) valiantly tried to take the lead back but simply could not and saw their season go up in flames. Playing again without Jennie Thies, Brianna Brennan led the Lady Knights with a double-double for the second straight game tallying 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The Crimson Hawks were led by four double-digit scoring performances to grind out the win. Zhane Brooks torched Gannon for a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds to record her tenth double-double of the season. IUP will travel to Cal for the PSAC final four this weekend and will face the same team that upset them last year in the PSAC semifinals, the West Chester Golden Rams.
Photo Credit: California University of Pennsylvania