Semenero and Cal Poly Pomona, Deely and UC Davis hooping it at women’s NCAA tourneys
By Steven Serafini
Mar 18, 2011 - 03:40 PM
Having taken their shining basketball careers from the high school level to the bigger collegiate stage, the Sonoma’s Sarah Semenero and Victoria Deely have performed impressively and capped last week by helping lead their colleges into the “March Madness” of postseason NCAA tournament hoops and national championship aspirations.
Semenero, a 2008 Sonoma Valley High School graduate and record-breaking standout for the Lady Dragons, returned from knee surgery that ended her sophomore season and slowed her at the start of her current junior year to be a key element in leading Cal Poly Pomona to the California Collegiate Athletic Association and NCAA Division II West Region titles. She earned all-tourney honors for her recent play in the NCAA Division II West Regionals.
The Cal Poly Pomona Bronco women – with two of Semenero’s teammates being former prep foes of hers from the SCL in Kaitlin Derby at Petaluma High School, and Charlene Popoff at Windsor – have reached the NCAA Division II tourney “Elite Eight” and will face Northwest Missouri State in a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal matchup this Tuesday, March 22, in St. Joseph, Mo. Cal Poly Pomona won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2002.
In her senior season at Sonoma Valley High School, Semenero was an unstoppable force in leading the Lady Dragons to their first Sonoma County League title in 24 years as the SCL player of the year; a school-best-tying 21 wins; and into the North Coast Section quarterfinals. She was also an All-Empire and All-Metro selection.
A 2008 graduate of Justin-Siena High School in Napa and a star prep all-state cager, the Valley’s Deely is a scholarship sophomore player for the University of California, Davis, and is the team’s top rebounder and second-best scorer.
Deely has helped lead the Big West Conference fourth-place Aggie women to both their first-ever Big West Women’s Tourney title and bid to the NCAA Division I championship tournament, where they have the daunting task of facing No. 1-seed Stanford in a west bracket’s first-round game tomorrow, Saturday, March 19, at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto.
As a high school senior, Deely led Justin-Siena to the Marin County Athletic League and NCS Division 1V titles and into the NorCal championship game. She was the MCAL and Napa County player of the year, as well as an All-Metro selection, all-state honoree, and a McDonald’s All-American nominee.