Lady Oaks Defeat William Jessup to Claim Third-Straight Cal Pac Title
March 6, 2014:
The Menlo College Women’s Basketball team (25-5) earned the right to advance to the 2014 NAIA Championships by claiming their third consecutive Cal Pac title with a 68-64 win over No. 3 seed William Jessup (14-15) on Monday evening. The win was the third of the season over the Warriors, but it didn't come easy, as was the case all season long.
Menlo took an early lead in the first two minutes, but then trailed for the remaining 18 minutes of the half, falling behind by as many as 10 points with just under 11 minutes remaining. As the half progressed, Menlo mounted a run that cut the lead to as few as one before William Jessup sent it into the break leading 36-32.
William Jessup continued to apply pressure in the second half and led until, with 12:14 remaining, Menlo gained its first lead since early in the first half and would never trail again. Their largest lead of the contest came on a Laurel Donnenwirth basketball with 4:00 remaining to make it 61-53.
Donnenwirth again proved why she is considered one of the top players in the conference by building off of Saturday's 28-point, 25-rebound performance with a 27-point, 11-rebound effort in the championship game on Monday evening. Cal Pac Player of the Year Jolise Limcaco was the only other Menlo scorer in double-digits with 13 points, three rebounds and four assists in 39 minutes of action.
After shooting 45% in the first half, the Menlo defense buckled down and held the Warriors to just 32% shooting in the second half to total 39% in the game. William Jessup also shot just 10% (1-for-10) from three point range. Menlo finished shooting 40% from the field in the third win of the season over the Warriors to secure the Cal Pac title; something head coach Shannon Osborne noted is never an easy task.
"It's a great accomplishment and really a tribute to all of the hard work the team has put in. I think tonight was a great win for us. We were able to beat a very good Jessup team for the third time which is never an easy thing," said Osborne.
Haynes-Prim Pavilion, chosen as tournament host for the 2014 Men's and Women's Cal Pac tournaments proved a fitting venue. A capacity crowd was on hand all day Saturday during the semifinal action and it was no different on Monday evening for the finals. According to Osborne, the raucous crowd had a major impact in the win and helped make it a memorable evening.
"I'd like to say the crowd was great to us and really played a big factor in our win."
Menlo now turns its focus to a trip to Sioux City, Iowa for the 2014 NAIA National Championships starting on March 12 inside the Tyson Events Center. A 32-team single elimination tournament, the National Championship seeding's and pairings will be announced during a live video show on Wednesday, March 5 at 4:55 pm pst. A National Championships visitors guide can be found here.