Mustang News Staff Report
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In a game against an opponent it should have defeated, the Cal Poly women’s basketball team was upset by eighth-place UC Irvine on Saturday.
The Anteaters were propelled to an 84-75 victory largely thanks to 44 first-half points, shooting 19-for-35 in the first 20 minutes. In the same frame, the Mustangs were held to just 19 points.
The second half was a different story, as Cal Poly (14-13, 9-6 Big West Conference) tried to close the 25-point halftime deficit.
The Mustangs were up to the task, nearly tripling their first-half score and dropping 56 second-half points. Senior guard Ariana Elegado led the charge, cutting the lead down to 70-66 with just over four minutes left to play.
The Anteaters (7-22, 4-10) stifled the comeback before it was too late, hitting big shots at the conclusion of the game to maintain their advantage to the final whistle.
Elegado finished with a team-high 24 points, while sophomore forward Hannah Gilbert ended up with a double-double, adding 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Cal Poly, sitting in third place, is still in a good position heading into the Big West Tournament. However, the Mustangs are just half a game ahead of Long Beach State and UC Davis, both of which have two games to play, while Cal Poly has just one.
Cal Poly concludes its regular season on March 7 at 2 p.m. in Mott Athletics Center against UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos have struggled this season, going just 2-25 overall and 2-12 in conference play. The Mustangs cruised to a 56-41 victory in their first match in the Thunderdome.
The final game will determine whether or not Cal Poly holds on to the No. 3 seed in the Big West Tournament. Depending on the results in the Long Beach State and UC Davis games, the Mustangs could fall as low as No. 5.
As was evident in Saturday’s game, the Big West is deep with talent. When the tournament starts, anything can happen.