Cal Poly Women's Basketball fell to UC Berkeley 74-60 on the road Monday, Nov. 13. Credit: Cal Poly Athletics

Cal Poly Women’s Basketball came up short on Monday afternoon, continuing their season-opening road trip with a 74-60 loss to the California Golden Bears inside Haas Pavilion on Monday, Nov. 13.

The loss was the Mustangs’ (1-3) fourth straight road loss to the Golden Bears dating back to 2012 and dropped Cal Poly to 0-8 all-time against the Pac-12 opponent, while the win helped Cal (3-0) continue its solid play to start this season. 

Although two Mustangs scored in double figures, Cal Poly never once held the lead. 

The Bears shot 55.8% from the field in the first quarter and opened up the game with a 10-2 lead. However, the Mustangs appeared to be fighting their way back into the contest after they cut the Cal lead back down to seven with 5:27 left in the quarter to put the score at 13-6. 

That would be as close as Cal Poly would get all game, as the Bears proceeded to outscore their visitors 16-6 during the rest of the quarter, including an 11-0 run during the final three minutes, to take a 29-12 lead with them into the second. 

It was the Golden Bear defense that was the story in that second quarter, as Cal held the Mustangs without a field goal over the last six minutes of the first half. The Golden Bears converted on a last-second three-pointer to close out the quarter Cal. The Golden Bears built a 42-22 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Mustangs slowly cut into the deficit.  The Golden Bears managed just 10 points in the quarter. The Mustangs doubled up that total, thanks to a 17-8 rebounding advantage and a 10-0 run over the final 3:25 of the frame that cut the deficit to 10, which left the score at 52-42 heading into the final quarter.

However, Cal immediately shut the door on a comeback as a 10-2 run over the start of the fourth quarter put the Bears back up by 18 with 4:22 left in the contest. It would prove to be the nail in the coffin for the Mustangs, who were unable to recover as the clock ticked down. 

Despite the 14-point loss, the Mustangs did leave Berkeley on Monday as the better shooting team with 46% shooting from the field compared to 39% for the Golden Bears while also winning the rebounding battle 40-27. 

However, what killed the Mustangs on Monday was turnovers, as the 33 they gave up were their most in a game since 2018, when they gave up 34 to Sacramento State on Veteran’s Day of that year. The 33 turnovers are also the most in one game under Shanele Stires so far.

Against San Jose State in the Mustangs’ previous game, the team amounted 30 turnovers due to a combination of live-ball errors and offensive fouls. The team struggled to get through both the Spartans and Golden Bears’ full-court pressure.

Senior forward Natalia Ackerman continues her strong start to the season. The Aptos High School alumni finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block and a steal. Freshman forward Mary Carter has put up back-to-back double-doubles against the Spartans and Golden Bears. She put up 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.

Up next, Cal Poly will take on No. 6 Stanford in one of their toughest matches of the season on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. inside Maples Pavilion.