APU Women's Basketball pose with their pacWest Championship Trophy

The women’s program was ranked in the top five of the region for most of the season, seemingly making their March Madness birth a lock before the PacWest Tournament. Winning the tournament solidified their birth, as they were seeded fifth in the West Region of the DII March Madness Tournament.

They are set to take on Cal State San Marcos at Cal State East Bay on Friday. Like the Cougars, San Marcos has four players who average double digits. 

The Cougars will look to Shaw and Uyehara to continue to spark their offense. Reserve Kelly Heimburger will also have to have a great game on the defensive end to neutralize San Marcos’ scorers Dynnah Buckner and Akayla Hackson.

Hackson is San Marcos’ leading scorer, keeping defenses on their heels from the wing. Aside from scoring, Hackson is elite in finding teammates on kick-outs and dump downs.

Buckner is a key to San Marcos’ offense, acting as their scorer and facilitator out of the high post. At 5’8, she has the size to overpower guards and the mobility to drive past bigs like Pranger.

Heimburger has the size and foot speed to defend Buckner. Stopping Buckner will leave San Marcos with their 6-foot center as their threat. Pranger has proven throughout her APU career that she is more than capable of locking up opposing post players.

Offensively, Shaw and Uyehara will have to continue to lead the way, making San Marcos scorers play defense. If they do so, the Cougars very well can advance to the second round.

March Madness is arguably the craziest time of the year in sports. Both APU basketball teams have the opportunity to dance in the chaos and bring home their first DII Championship. While it is not an easy task, both have very great odds of getting the job done.

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