California Baptist unbeaten, but won’t be able to go dancing

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Baptist has the longest existing winning streak in Division I women’s basketball and is only the fifth college considering the fact that 2016 to go unbeaten as a result of its very first 20 video games. But you will not likely be looking at the Lancers when the NCAA Event bracket is produced March 15.

That’s since the personal Christian university in Riverside, California, is in its third time of a four-calendar year transition period to full Division I membership position. California Baptist produced the bounce from Division II in July 2018 but is not suitable to participate in an NCAA event in any sport till the 2022-23 time.

“I’m not gonna lie, it feels like a bit of a letdown,” senior guard Georgia Dale mentioned. “Everyone’s large detail is heading to the large dance and observing how significantly they get in March. And it feels like a bit of a punch in the encounter figuring out that we can only go so far.”

The Western Athletic Convention common-period champions will never see their period finish, while, following upcoming week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas. Women’s NIT organizers are arranging to invite the Lancers to be component of their 32-crew field.

The Lancers go into Friday’s video game at Seattle with a 23-sport winning streak dating back to past period. Victories about the Redhawks on Friday and Saturday would make them the 24th group considering that 1982 to go via the standard time undefeated and the very first considering the fact that each Mississippi State and UConn did it in 2017-18.

If California Baptist can make it undefeated as a result of following 7 days, it would be part of UConn, Tennessee, Baylor and Notre Dame as programs to go unbeaten in the regular period and get the convention match. The Huskies were the final to do it in 2018.

Unfortunately, the Lancers would also become the first workforce since Oral Roberts in 1983 to go unbeaten and not get an NCAA bid.

Coach Jarrod Olson mentioned there hasn’t been substantially discussion about remaining undefeated at this point in the period or the long winning streak.

“We have not really talked about ending the meeting undefeated. We’re just targeted on striving to get it,” he mentioned. “You sort of discover yourself in unique conditions at the close of the year, and this just transpires to be just one of them for us.”

Olson is in his ninth year at the college. He has guided the program from the Countrywide Christian University Athletic Association to an appearance in the Division II ultimate in 2015 and now results in Division I. The Lancers ended up second in the WAC in their first Division I period (2018-19) ahead of likely 16-15 very last season due to injuries.

On the court, the Lancers are led by guard Ane Olaeta, who was the WAC’s preseason participant of the calendar year. The senior is averaging 8.3 assists for each video game, which would lead the nation if the faculty was included in the NCAA statistics. Redshirt sophomore Caitlyn Harper is the team’s top scorer at 13.7 details per activity and senior ahead Britney Thomas is averaging 13.6 points along with 8.2 rebounds.

Although the Lancers’ 79 points per match would make them a person of the prime scoring teams in the country, Olson has been extremely content with the improvements on defense this period. They are holding groups to 32.6% capturing from the discipline, which would be second in the country powering Baylor.

“That has taken us to the put where by we are proper now,” Olaeta reported.

Olaeta and Dale are two of 7 intercontinental gamers on the roster. Dale is a person of 4 Australians and Oleata is from Spain. Other players are from France and Canada. There are also a few players from Southern California.

Even while there is the fast objective of an undefeated time, Dale and Olaeta have realized the previous few seasons have been about constructing the method for foreseeable future accomplishment.

“Well, as mentor suggests, it’s not just like the second appropriate now. The aim is just greater for the upcoming,” Olaeta explained.

With the early good results, Olson is hoping his program can ultimately be deemed in the conversation with South Dakota State and Florida Gulf Coast as previous Division II courses that have experienced constant achievement as mid-majors in Division I.

“We’ve acquired a extended methods to go to get on their stage, but I definitely think this calendar year is a action in that direction,” he explained. “I mean, those are gigantic shoes to try to fill. But, you know, it is a very good position to commence for us. And with any luck , we can make it up sometime.”

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Much more AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Major25

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Observe Joe Reedy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/joereedy