Chico State Women’s Basketball fall short of upset in last home game at Acker Gym


Javier Hernandez

The Wildcats with their senior Mikaela Bismillah on Feb. 26

The Wildcats came in fresh off of a California Collegiate Athletic Association playoff berth-clinching win, but came up short against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers.

Chico State Women’s Basketball gave its flowers to Mikaela Bismillah prior to tip off and celebrated her last game. 

“I feel sad, but excited because we get to go to the playoffs. My team is amazing,” Bismillah said. “I love them so much and it makes me sad that I only had to have a year with a lot of them.” 

Bismillah said her teammates and coaches are what makes this program special to her.

Head coach Brian Fogel said the biggest thing that Bismillah offers is her unselfishness and great personality.

“She is applying to go to grad school and will be successful in whatever she does,” Fogel said. “The last play she had an opportunity to make a layup but she passed it, that talks to her character and who she is.”

The game started off nicely for the Wildcats, and they would be up as much as seven points during the first 10 minutes of play. The Wildcats held the Pioneers to 27% from the field and 20% from beyond the arc during the first quarter, and led 13-9.

During the second quarter, the Wildcats and Pioneers went back and forth answering each other’s buckets. By the end of the quarter the Wildcats trailed 26-27. 

The Wildcat defense did its job of holding the Pioneers to 42% from the field, but free throws won the Pioneers the quarter. The Pioneers made seven free throws in comparison to the Wildcats’ one. 

The third quarter was all about runs. The Pioneers started it off with their offense as they went on a 7-0 run, giving them their biggest lead at 41-31. 

The Wildcats answered back with their own 16-7 run after freshman guard Charity Gallegos called bank and sank in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as the quarter ended. Heading into the final 10 minutes of play the Wildcats were down 47-48.

After junior guard Myli Martinez made the first shot of the fourth quarter, the Wildcats regained the lead at 49-48. However,Pioneer Zhane Duckett would sink a basket to cap off a 10-0 run in favor of the Pioneers. With only two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Pioneers led 66-58.

Junior guard Bailey Jones said the team was ready for the matchup but just came up short in the end.

“This was our first time seeing them,” Jones said. “They are a tough team.”

This lead was enough for the Pioneers, as they defeated the Wildcats 74-66. Fogel said he thought his team fought hard and played well, but a few crucial mistakes cost them the win.

“We gave up 15 offensive rebounds, which is too much,” Fogel said. “We played well in stretches, they just ultimately wore us down.” 

The Wildcats ended the year 13-10, and 10-8 in CCAA play. This was enough to propel them into the No. 5 seed for the CCAA playoffs.

The CCAA tournament will be held in Arcata at Lumberjack Arena, the home of the Cal Poly Humboldt Lumberjacks. Chico State Women’s Basketball will play the No. 4 Dominguez Hills Toros, a team they beat on Feb. 24 to secure a ticket to the postseason. 

The Wildcats play on March 3 at noon to kick start the CCAA playoffs. The Wildcats extend their CCAA playoff streak to two. 

The Wildcats ended their season on a game losing streak, while the Toros finished off with a win against the Stanislaus State Warriors.

Gallegos said something they have to work on before their next game are turnovers.

“We played too loose at times,” Gallegos said. “We have to tighten up and bring up the intensity level.”

Players to watch from the Toros: 

  • Forward Jordan Asia: She averaged 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals per game. Asia was seventh in the CCAA in scoring, third in rebounding, fourth in steals and second in field goal percentage.
  • Guard Auren Isaacson. She averaged 13 points, three rebounds and two assists per game. Isaacson ranked twelveth in the CCAA in scoring, and ranked third in 3-pointers per game with three.

Players to watch from the Wildcats:

  • Guard Charity Gallegos: Gallegos averaged 13 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals per game. She ranked ninth in the CCAA in scoring, first in assists and ninth in steals. She also ranks third in field goal percentage and second in assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Guard Myli Martinez: Martinez averaged 10 points, three rebounds and two assists per game. She also ranked first in free throw percentage in the CCAA.

Fogel said he is confident in his team heading into the CCAA playoffs. 

“For us to be able to gain this experience of going to the conference tournament is a big thing,” Fogel said. “I want us to taste it, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Javier Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.