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GCU Women’s Club Basketball falls short at NIRSA Regionals

Women's basketball player going to basket
March 4, 2020

The home court advantage was not enough to punch Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Basketball’s ticket to the championship game of the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Region VI Championship Series. The event – which housed 34 men’s and women’s basketball teams from around the country – was held this past weekend at the Canyon Activity Center on the GCU campus.

GCU Team 1 and GCU Team 2 were two of 14 women’s teams competing in the event. GCU Team 1 went 2-2 for the weekend and ended with a fallout in the fourth quarter to eventual tournament runner-up California Polytechnic State University in the quarterfinals. GCU Team 2 went 0-3 for the weekend, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the University of Oregon.

The tournament was the closing of the season for GCU Team 2, while GCU Team 1 still has hopes to get to the NIRSA National Basketball Championships held at Wichita State University in Kansas on April 3-5.

GCU Team 1

The Lopes began pool play with a win over California State University, Northridge on Friday, followed by a close loss to the University of Southern California to end the night. Lopes’ sophomore Jayden Bies led the way against CSUN with 17 points, while junior Cassandra Ibarra had a team-high 19 points against USC.

A comfortable 62-41 win over Colorado State University sent the Lopes to the quarterfinal round to face Cal Poly. GCU stuck with CPU right up until the end, but were outscored, 8-0, in the final two and a half minutes to lose, 33-25.

“We gave up some key possessions at the end of the Cal Poly game that got us,” said GCU Team 1 Head Coach Kyle Speed. “It was disappointing because it was a tournament we could have won.”

Cal Poly advanced on to take second place in the tournament behind the champions, University of California, Davis. The top two spots in the regionals advanced to the NIRSA National Basketball Championships in Wichita. Despite their loss in the quarterfinals, the Lopes still hope to compete in the tournament in April. 

GCU Team 1 ended the tournament with a 9-6 overall record. Ibarra once again led the offense over the weekend with 47 total points, with Bies adding 36 points, 12 rebounds and 10 steals.

“I was encouraged by what I saw from the group this season,” said Speed. “It is one of the better groups that we’ve had. They really came together and bought in to what I was trying to get them to do.”

GCU Team 2

In the first night of pool play, GCU Team 2 suffered losses from the University of Oregon and California Polytechnic State University. The two losses set them up to face University of Oregon once again in the first round of playoffs on Saturday morning. While they made up ground after a deep first-half deficit, the Lopes fell to the Ducks, 41-34.

“We were with them the whole game, and the last game against Oregon was probably our best game of the season, so at least we ended on a high note,” said GCU Team 2 Head Coach Andrew Zemlicka. “When they gave effort and played with heart, they competed with a top team at NIRSA and they can compete with teams in our conference as well.”

Katelyn Nelson led the offense for the weekend with 26 total points, while Victoria Pugh added 13 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists.  The NIRSA games closed out GCU Team 2’s season with a 1-12 final overall record.

Interested in GCU Women’s Club Basketball? Visit our GCU Club Sports page to find out how you can be a part of next season!