Cal Poly women’s basketball beat UC Santa Barbara 73-72 Wednesday night to move into sole possession of third place in the Big West Conference standings and end a two-game losing streak.
Cal Poly freshman guard Ayzhiana Basallo missed two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining, giving the Gauchos (11-15, 8-6 Big West) a chance to steal the win. The Gauchos squandered the opportunity after guard Drea Toler committed her third turnover of the corner. Senior guard Dynn Leaupepe secured the ball while the clock expired to give the Mustangs (15-11, 9-5 Big West) their ninth conference win.
The Gauchos controlled the game for the majority of the first half and were poised to take a commanding lead. After a 14-1 run gave the Gauchos a 13 point lead, Cal Poly responded with a 13-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to two points going into halftime.
Standout senior guards Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe led the team as usual, especially in the first half. Dynn tallied 23 points before halftime while Lynn added six more. The twins accounted for more than 75 percent of Cal Poly’s first-half points.
Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh said it was a pleasure to watch them do well in one of their last home games.
“I wish I could’ve been sitting in the stands eating popcorn watching it instead of coaching it,” Mimnaugh said.
In the second half, the Mustangs were able to put up more shots but shot a dismal 31.8 percent from the field, as Dynn was held scoreless on six shots. The Mustangs recorded eight offensive rebounds and had nine second-chance points.
Lynn Leaupepe dominated the glass with a season-high 14 rebounds, ten of which we offensive. Big rebounding performances from the senior guard have become the norm.
“That’s just kind of been my role since I’ve been here,” Lynn said. “That was a major key of mine, for my team, to help us win this game.”
Dynn’s aggressive defense got her into foul trouble early in the fourth, going to the bench just three minutes into the quarter with the Mustangs down one.
“Finding a happy medium in my aggressiveness was something I had to adjust,” Dynn said, “you just got to adjust to whatever the [referees] are calling.”
The fourth quarter alone had seven lead changes. With less than 30 seconds to play, Gauchos guard Drea Toler drove in for a layup to give UC Santa Barbara the lead. With the shot clock dead, Lynn quickly scored the eventual game-winning layup with 23 seconds left, as the Gauchos were unable to score in their final two possessions.
The victory marks a major rebound for the team after being outscored by a total of 61 points in two games.
Lynn is now No. 15 in school history for career points, passing 1,000 points early in the third quarter.
Cal Poly will face Cal State Fullerton Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. to close out their home schedule.