March 20, 2013
Former prep players help Cal Poly reach first NCAA tourney

Four former high school girls basketball standouts are members of a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo women's basketball team that will make its first NCAA women's Division I basketball appearance in school history on Sunday in Baton Rouge.

The No. 14-seeded Mustangs (21-10), winners of the Big West Tournament, will play No. 3 Penn State (25-5).

Senior guard Caroline Reeves (6.6 points per game) from Nevada Union, senior forward Nikol Allen (6.5 points, 4.9 rebounds) from Davis and freshman guard Beth Balbierz (2.6 points) from St. Francis are all contributing players.

Senior forward Brittany Woodard, The Bee Player of the Year in 2007-2008 from Christian Brothers, was the team's third leading scorer (10.6 points) through 14 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Reeves said she hasn't paid much attention in the past to the 64-team NCAA tournament. She told San Luis Obispo Tribune sportswriter Joshua D. Scroggin that she's never before viewed a selection show.

"For it to finally happen was such a huge blessing," Reeves said after watching Cal Poly's draw announced on ESPN during a selection show party at a local restaurant on Monday. "I still don't really understand it because I'm so used to ending the season depressed and bummed that we've lost and OK, 'Now what are we going to do next year?' But there's no next year for me anyway, and we ended our conference season on a good note."

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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at or

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