SAN BERNARDINO – Cal Poly Pomona had a hand in keeping Cal State San Bernardino’s women’s basketball out of last year’s NCAA Division II West Regional. The Coyotes may have returned the favor Friday night. Cal Poly bumbled and stumbled its way through a must-win game and San Bernardino took advantage, with junior Mariqueta Starling scoring 19 second-half points in a 78-55 win that has the Broncos nearing the end of the rope in this year’s regional tournament picture. “Absolutely,” Broncos head coach Paul Thomas said. “This obviously puts a lot of pressure on us to win. We’re going to be (playing) at Chico State – at Bakersfield – at San Diego. I don’t think we’re done, but we’re about a game away.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card That game could come as soon as tonight. The Broncos (6-8, 3-4), who have now dropped three region games by 20 points or more, have already lost to five of the top 10 teams in the region. They sit more than two games out in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and they hit the road again today against UC San Diego, the region’s top-ranked team. None of those defeats sit well with Thomas, who has guided Cal Poly to two national championships and five CCAA titles in a decorated 12-year stint in which the Broncos have beaten the Coyotes 20 times against eight losses. “This isn’t an upset; it would have been an upset if we would have beat (San Bernardino),” said Thomas, who counts 42- and 43-point losses to Western Washington and Cal State Bakersfield among this year’s low points. “When you lose two games by 85 points, that mystique is pretty much wiped out for that year.” A year ago it was Cal Poly doing the upsetting, at least emotionally, against a Coyote team thinking postseason after ranking as high as No. 5 in the regional poll. But the Coyotes fell from No. 8 to No. 9 even after a victory over Cal State Bakersfield and then missed their last chance to get their hands on the region’s final playoff spot when Cal Poly outlasted San Bernardino in a late-season 55-51 win. Needless to say, that loss was fresh on the minds of the returning Coyotes on Friday. “We felt like we got robbed when it came to the regional last year,” San Bernardino senior Monique Cruz said. “We won enough games. We thought we proved ourselves. When we saw the regional poll this year and we weren’t in it, it gave us a lot of motivation.” San Bernardino, winners of three of its last four, put that motivation to good use against Cal Poly. Starling rebounded from foul trouble to score 19 in the second half, Cruz added 18 and Tamara Thomas (13 points) and Christina Day (12) both finished in double figures in scoring. Thomas also added six assists and four steals and Cruz turned in six rebounds and four steals. “It was really nice to have a game where we had more than one person step up,” Coyotes head coach Kevin Becker said. “We’ve had good games by a player, but we haven’t had many with this many players stepping up.” Lately, the Broncos haven’t had any. DeJa Blevins scored 11 points, all in the first half, but she committed six turnovers and played just five minutes in the second half. Unique Anderson scored 10 points, but she also had eight of the Broncos’ 20 turnovers, and seven in a first half that had Cal Poly looking up at a 38-28 deficit going into the locker room. That deficit quickly became 17 when the Coyotes ran off the first seven points in the second half. “That’s not coming out with a fire in your belly,” Thomas said. NOTABLE: Cal Poly guard Ashley Moody learned that the right knee she injured on Jan. 7 may not keep her out the entire season. An MRI did not reveal significant damage. She’ll meet again with doctors on Wednesday to determine if she’ll be able to return from what is either a possible partial tear or a knee sprain. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!