PLNU takes on CBU in NCAA West Regional today
Published - 03/10/17 - 12:18 PM | 3850 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the second time in three years the Sea Lions (24-5, 17-3 PacWest) are in the NCAA West Regional.
For the second time in three years the Sea Lions (24-5, 17-3 PacWest) are in the NCAA West Regional.
For the second time in three years the Sea Lions (24-5, 17-3 PacWest) are in the NCAA West Regional. Point Loma earned an at-large bid out of the PacWest Conference after finishing second in the regular season and the postseason tournament. PLNU will go on the road to face No. 2 seed and familiar PacWest rival, California Baptist, in the first round on Friday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m.


The PLNU-CBU game, and all games at the NCAA West Regional, will be available for fans to follow FREE through live video and live stats. Both the live stats and the live video may be accessed at


Point Loma is in the midst of its best season since joining NCAA Division II as full-time members prior to the 2014-15 season. The Sea Lions posted a 24-5 record during the season, which included two separate nine-game winning streaks. PLNU was 9-2 on the road, and 1-2 on neutral courts.

Offensively, the Sea Lions spread the ball around, with five student-athletes averaging double-figures in points. Alex Brunk leads the team with 15.4 ppg. Roya Rustamzada is second with 13.6 ppg, and also leads the squad with 9.0 rebounds. Kassidy Gengenbacher comes off the bench to average 12.8 ppg. She is pacing the team in field goal percentage (49.0) and free throw percentage (78.4). Sydney Tonack scores 10.5 ppg, and Madison West puts up 10.0 ppg, while leading the team with 54 3-pointers. As a team, PLNU averages 75.8 ppg and shoots 43.6 percent from the field.

Defense has been what the Sea Lions have hung their hat on all season. PLNU allows just 59.3 ppg and a 37.0 shooting percentage to their opponents. The Sea Lions are winning the turnover battle by six per game and are outrebounding its opponents by 2.1 boards per game. The 70-point mark is key for the Sea Lions. PLNU is 23-1 when allowing 70 points or less, and 1-4 in games in which it allows more than 70 points.


This season PLNU lead the PacWest in a number of categories. The Sea Lions' defense is credited with most of these rankings. Their 59.3 ppg allowed led the league and their 37.0 field goal percentage defense is second. Point Loma was first in the PacWest and 11th in the country with a plus-6.0 turnover margin. Its 12.7 turnovers are also fewest in the PacWest and the 15th in the country. The 474 free throws made by the Sea Lions also lead the league.


PLNU set a program record this year by having five student-athletes named to the 2016-17 All-PacWest team. Alex Brunk and Roya Rustamzada earned first and second team honors, respectively, while Madison West and Kassidy Gengenbacher were both voted third team All-PacWest. Sydney Tonack received an honorable mention.


California Baptist earned the No. 2 in the West Regional after going 31-2 during the season and 20-0 in the PacWest. The Lancers won both the regular season and postseason titles. Cassidy Milhalko (19.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg) was the PacWest Player of the Year. Kamille Diaz (14.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.2 apg) also joined her on the PacWest first team.


This will be the fourth meeting of the season between the Sea Lions and the Lancers. CBU has won the previous three, including in the finals of the PacWest Championships. The two teams battled to overtime in the regular season finale, but CBU pulled out the victory at home 94-85. In the PacWest Championships, PLNU jumped to a big lead early but a 20-5 run by CBU to close the half made the difference.


Lisa Faulkner took over the Sea Lions prior to the 2016-17 season after coming over from Boston College. This is her first head coaching job. She led PLNU to its best record since 2009-10 (26-5) and its best-ever finish in its five years in the PacWest (second; 17-3).


Two years ago, Point Loma came to Alaska and shocked the NCAA basketball world by knocking off the nation's No. 1 team and tournament host, Alaska Anchorage, in the first round of the tournament. PLNU jumped out to a 31-13 lead but UAA chipped away and it came down to Roya Rustamzada driving the length of the court with the time expiring to hit an off-balanced layup with 2.1 second left to give PLNU the 64-63 upset of the Seawolves.


Friday, Mar. 10 - Quarterfinals

Noon: No. 6 CSU East Bay (22-8) vs No. 3 Western Washington (25-5)

2:30 p.m.: No. 7 Point Loma (24-5) vs No. 2 California Baptist (31-2)

5 p.m.: No. 5 Simon Fraser (24-7) vs No. 4 UCSD (23-6)

7:30 p.m.: No. 8 Hawaii Pacific (21-6) vs No. 1 Alaska Anchorage (29-1)

Saturday, March 11 - Semifinals

5 p.m.: CSUEB/WWU winner vs PLNU/CBU winner

7:30 p.m.: SFU/UCSD winner vs HPU/UAA winner

Monday, March 13 - Championship

7 p.m.: Semifinal winners
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