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No. 24 Eagles fall to Antelope Valley, 59-55
College Women's Basketball

Embry Riddle's Katana Martina (11) goes up for a bucket as the Eagles hosted UC-Maritime on Feb. 1, 2018, in Prescott. Martina scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds in a 59-55 loss to Antelope Valley on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Lancaster, California. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, File)

Embry Riddle's Katana Martina (11) goes up for a bucket as the Eagles hosted UC-Maritime on Feb. 1, 2018, in Prescott. Martina scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds in a 59-55 loss to Antelope Valley on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Lancaster, California. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, File)

Pioneers earn No. 1 seed for Cal-Pac tournament

Losing back-to-back Cal-Pac Conference games for the first time all season after a 59-55 setback at Antelope Valley on Thursday night, the No. 24-ranked Embry-Riddle women’s basketball team won’t carry the No. 1 seed into next week’s league tournament.

Antelope Valley, with its victory, gained a measure of revenge on the Eagles, winning the Cal-Pac conference’s regular-season title with one game left. The Pioneers (19-6, 11-2 Cal-Pac) captured the top seed for the second straight season.

The Eagles beat Antelope Valley, 89-82, in Prescott on Jan. 20, but Thursday was a slightly different story.

Katana Martina paced three Embry-Riddle players in double figures with 18 points, five rebounds and a block. Jazlyn Malentino (10 points, five rebounds, two assists) and Danae Ruiz (10 points, four assists, two steals) followed.

“We had our chances to win the game; it was a back-and-forth battle all night,” Eagles head coach Becky Burke said.

The Eagles (20-5, 10-3 Cal-Pac), currently tied with UC-Merced (18-9, 10-3 Cal-Pac) for the No. 2 seed, split their season series against Antelope Valley and UC-Merced.

Antelope Valley swept UC-Merced, allowing the Pioneers to clinch the Cal-Pac regular-season title and carry the No. 1 seed into the four-team conference tournament.

Embry-Riddle, which has locked up a seed into the Cal-Pac tournament for the first time in the program’s second season, ends the regular campaign at La Sierra (6-7, 11-16) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in California.

If the Eagles defeat La Sierra, the Eagles would claim the Cal-Pac’s second seed into the league tourney Sunday, Feb. 25, and Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Cal Maritime.

Antelope Valley plays host to fourth-place Benedictine-Mesa (9-4, 16-10) Saturday. If Antelope Valley wins, it would face Benedictine again on Feb. 25 in the first semifinal. If Benedictine wins and ERAU loses at La Sierra, Benedictine would be the No. 3 seed.

UC-Merced, which visits Simpson of California (5-8, 8-18) Saturday, will be the No. 2 or 3 seed.

“We have a big game on Saturday, and we need to continue to prepare for the Cal-Pac Tournament, where anything can happen,” Burke said.

UP NEXT

Embry-Riddle visits La Sierra on Saturday with the opportunity for the season sweep.

The Eagles cruised past La Sierra, 84-66, Jan. 18 at the ERAU Activity Center in Prescott.

Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.

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