After earning the No. 2 seed in the Big West Tournament and a two-round bye, the Cal Poly women’s basketball team squared off against Cal State University Northridge in the semi-finals Friday afternoon. The Mustangs fell to the Matadors 50-73.
After the Mustangs’ final regular season game in Hawaii last week, more than half of the Mustangs’ team personnel ended up with norovirus according to head coach Faith Mimnaugh. Several players and Mimnaugh were not allowed to board the plane in Hawaii for the return trip, while four more players who were originally allowed to board were hospitalized once returning to California.
“There’s absolutely no way we could have played on Tuesday or Wednesday,” Mimnaugh said. “We tried to practice wedesday but we were terrible. Id like to clobber somebody in Hawaii, whoever gave this to us.”
The ailing Mustangs kept pace with the Matadors early in the first quarter but quickly found themselves down by double digits. Senior guard Dynn Leaupepe couldn’t find her rhythm from the floor after draining her first two shots.
The Matadors took advantage of the Mustangs’ slow start and poured in a 16-3 run over six minutes, ending the quarter with a 24-9 lead over Cal Poly.
The shooting woes continued for Cal Poly in the second quarter as the team connected on fewer than 20 percent of their shots from the field. Ball movement proved to be a major obstacle for the Mustangs to overcome on both sides of the ball, only tallying one assist in the half while the Matadors racked up 13.
While the Mustangs only mustered seven points in the second quarter, the Matadors pushed their lead to 20 points by halftime, 36-16.
— Mustang News (@CPMustangNews) March 9, 2018
Midway through the third quarter, another big run by the Matadors after the break pushed their lead to 30 points, 50-20. The Mustangs tried to swing the momentum of the game by switching to full-court press defense after the break.
While their defense yielded 19 turnovers in the game, the Mustangs’ offense couldn’t get anything going. Dynn Leaupepe and guard Lynn Leaupepe combined for 19 points while shooting a mediocre 9-30 from the floor. In the regular season, Dynn Leaupepe averaged 21 points per game on her own.
Meanwhile, Matador forwards Tessa Boagni and Channon Fluker steamrolled the Mustangs down low, combining for 34 points and 20 rebounds.
Ultimately the Mustangs’ comeback attempt fell well short as Cal Poly fell 50-73 to the Matadors. With the win, the Matadors will face UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament finals tomorrow.
Next season, the Mustangs will have to find a way to replace Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe, both of which are in the top 20 in points scored in Cal Poly women’s basketball history.
The Mustangs connected on just three shots from beyond the arc and were outscored 32-24 in the paint.
— Mustang News (@CPMustangNews) March 10, 2018
“In the end, it was a blessing to be able to play with my sister,” Lynn Leaupepe said. “It’s been a fun ride and overall I’m just so proud of my teammates and how they grew on and off the court.”
This article was updated live during the Cal Poly women’s basketball game against Cal State University Northridge in the Big West Conference Tournament semi-finals.