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With more than 75 percent of the Cal Poly women’s basketball players being upperclassmen, this is the year the team hopes to make a move in the Big West.

The Mustangs are coming off a losing season in which the team finished with an overall record of 11-16 and 5-13 Big West; a record that placed them ninth in the Big West.

Last year’s team started off the season strong, winning nine of its first 14 games before finishing out the season with just two wins in their last 13 games.

However, coach Faith Mimnaugh feels things will be different this year. The Mustangs will be returning three starters from last year’s team and 10-lettermen total.

“This is a more experienced team than we’ve had in the past,” Mimnaugh said. “We have a strong junior and senior class as well as talented younger players.”

The junior class is led by 5-foot-10-inch guard/forward Jessica Eggleston who was the Mustangs no. 2 scorer and led the team in rebounds despite starting only nine games last season.

Eggleston earned honorable mention All-Big West Conference in her sophomore season averaging 8.9 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game and 1.4 steals per game. Eggleston is expected to start at the No. 3 wing guard position.

“She has so much talent and so much potential,” Mimnaugh said of Eggleston on the team’s Web site. “Jessica is so physically dominating on both the offensive and defensive glass.”

The Mustangs point guard for the third straight year is 5-foot-2-inch junior Sparkle Anderson. Anderson played in all 27 games as a sophomore averaging 6.5 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game and 1.9 assists per game.

Mimnaugh refers to Anderson as one of team leaders and “spark plug” of the team.

Leading the senior class is the Mustangs returning guard/forward starter 6-foot-1-inch Courtney Cameron. Cameron has played in 59 games in her first three seasons at Cal Poly and is expected to start this season at a wing guard position.

Mimnaugh refers to Cameron as a player who does everything not noticed in the stats.

“She has scoring ability, shot-blocking ability and we need some strong rebounding from her to be successful this year,” Mimnaugh said on the team’s Web site.

Fellow senior, 6-foot-2-inch forward/center Sarah Grieve has been a key factor in the Mustangs offense thus far. The Mustangs, who lost their starting post player from last year, Katy Paterson, are looking for someone to fill the void in the post.

“Sarah is a huge target,” Mimnaugh said. “We’re trying to get quick shots and Sarah helps us to do that in the post.”

Grieve said that there are many people on the team that can score but if moving the ball through her is working, than she is prepared to do so.

Challenging Grieve for the post-position will be 6-foot-1-inch freshman forward Megan Harrison and 6-foot-2-inch sophomore forward Nicole Yarwasky.

Thus far, Harrison has shown promise, playing a large role in the Mustangs’ first game by cashing in 13 points and leading the team with 9 rebounds in 19 minutes.

“Megan may be the best post player we’ve ever had.” Mimnaugh said. “We are definitely counting on her to be a key contributor and maybe be a starter.”

One aspect that Mimnaugh focused on in the off-season was trying to find players to replace the players that will be leaving after this season. Mimnaugh brought in 6-foot-2-inch freshman Lisa McBride and 6-foot Kendra Carrie, who Mimnaugh called great 3-point shooters.

“I want the young players to get a year under their belt before our upperclassmen leave,” Mimnaugh said.

With the vast array of talented players, the Mustangs may be in position to finish within the top three in the conference, Grieve said.

“Hard work and being committed to staying positive will lead this team to success,” Mimnaugh said. “We have a grueling schedule and practice, but if we strengthen our weaknesses and keep our strengths strong, we should be alright.”

Grieve added that the grueling practice schedule has really brought the team a lot closer.

“When you have to get up every morning at 5 a.m. you really get to see what your teammates are made of,” Grieve said.

Grieve added that this team is the best she’s played on and defensively one of the best teams in the conference.

“Everybody wants to win this year,” Grieve said. “We are a more focused unit and we know what needs to get accomplished.”

The Mustangs have started their season 1-0 with an 86-78 victory over Cal State Los Angeles. The team will travel to the Long Island University Classic on Friday to play James Madison University at 1 p.m.

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