The Cal Poly women’s basketball team earned its second straight win Saturday night at CSUN, 77-66. The win gave the Mustangs (13-13, 6-7 Big West) a chance to gain more momentum going in to the conference playoffs.
Sophomore guard Dynn Leaupepe kept up her stellar play, scoring a game-high 24 points along with six rebounds. Saturday night was the eighth time in the past nine games Leaupepe has scored double-digit points, earning a permanent spot in the starting lineup thanks to her hot hand. Senior guard Beth Balbierz shot 4-7 from three-point range on her way to 21 points and six assists.
The Mustangs got off to a hot start early on and shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter, led by Leaupepe’s 16 points on 7-8 shooting, to pull out a 27-15 lead. They went on a 22-4 run after CSUN got out to a 4-0 lead, the largest lead the Matadors had in the game. From there, Cal Poly went in to halftime leading 46-36 and led by as many as 20 in the second half on the way to victory.
As a team, the Mustangs outshot CSUN in every category, holding the advantage in field goal percentage (50 percent to 42), three-point percentage (44 percent to 40), and free throw percentage (80 percent to 66). The Mustangs’ 22 assists were the most in a game for Cal Poly since Dec. 29, led by senior guard Lisa Marie Sanchez’s nine dimes on the night. The Mustangs turned the ball over 10 times but limited how much the Matadors could capitalize, holding them to just six points off turnovers.
One point of concern for the Mustangs lately has been the lack of bench production, as Cal Poly only managed two points off the bench from junior forward Amanda Lovely. In the past four games, the team has received 15 total points from the bench. Take away Leaupepe’s 31-point outing early this month as a sub against Hawaii and the bench has contributed 4.8 points per game in February.
Looking ahead for the Mustangs, the final three games of the regular season are against top-five Big West teams. The conference tournament does include eight of the nine teams in conference, so there’s mathematically no chance the Mustangs miss the tournament.
But that’s not to say there’s nothing to play for — the Mustangs have these three games to gain momentum and a higher standing in conference. Next is a matchup against Long Beach State (19-7, 8-4) next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Mott Athletics Center.