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Women's Basketball Team Crowned Cal Pac Tournament Champions

March 2, 2022
The UC Merced women's basketball team is seen after a game on March 1, 2022.
Winners of 12 straight, the Bobcats have tied the longest winning streak of any team, in any sport, in UC Merced history.

The UC Merced women's basketball team beat Westcliff University 64-46 on Tuesday night to win their fourth California Pacific Conference Tournament Championship in the last eight years.

The Bobcats (18-7), who entered this year's tournament as the No. 1 seed and most recently won the title in 2017, now own the most postseason hardware out of any active team in the conference. The Bobcats head to the NAIA National Tournament with a program-record 12-game winning streak.

The Bobcats will be one of just four national tournament teams in the field of 64 that went perfect in league play and won their respective conference tournament championship. The Bobcats are joined by Iowa Wesleyan, Our Lady of Lake and Southeastern.

Winners of 12 straight, the Bobcats have tied the longest winning streak of any team, in any sport, in UC Merced history.

Led by head coach Sarah Hopkins-Chery, the Bobcats led 24-22 at the half before outscoring Westcliff 23-9 in the difference-making third quarter. The Bobcats ended the third quarter on a 9-0 run. The Bobcats' biggest lead of the night was 26 points at 62-36 midway through the fourth quarter.

Senior Mikayla Mabie led the Bobcats with 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Six of Mabie's 12 points came at the charity stripe to put in her double figures for the fourth time in the last five games dating back to the regular season.

Haylee Owen nearly matched Mabie and finished with 11 points, six assists and five rebounds. The Chula Vista, California, native knocked down two triples and five foul shots.

Mabie and Owen are the second and third players in program history with at least 10 points, five assists and five rebounds in a postseason game. Courtney Danna was the first on Feb. 26, 2017.

Mabie's and Owen's six assists are a program championship game record.

Owen passed Danna on Tuesday for fifth on the program's all-time record list with 113 career three-point field goals.

Cierra McClain joined Mabie and Owen in double figures with 10 points on 50% (4-8) shooting.

Rainah Smith grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with seven points and a blocked shot. Smith's double figure rebounding game was her third in a row and seventh in the last 10 games.

Damilola Sule was good for eight points and eight rebounds. Madison Hotchkiss bottomed a pair of three-point field goals on her way to eight points. Hotchkiss has multiple triples in three consecutive games.

Other individual notables include seven rebounds from Marisse Jackson, and six rebounds and two steals from Andrea Rogers to extend her steals streak to 16 games.

Head coach Sarah Hopkins-Chery's team outrebounded Westcliff 54-32 on the night, 23-11 on the offensive glass. The Bobcats forced 13 turnovers.

The Bobcats will now wait to see who they will play in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The selection show is scheduled for Thursday, March 3, at 4 p.m.