Cal Poly Women’s Basketball completed their sweep of Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 20 with a 45-42 win at Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo.
The win for the Mustangs (11-7, 7-5 Big West) came on the heels of a strong defensive performance by both them and the Beach (11-5, 10-4 Big West). Cal Poly allowed just 42 points, the fewest points they’ve allowed this season. Long Beach held the Mustangs to only 45 points, their second-fewest points scored and their fewest scored in a win so far this season.
Sophomore guard Abbey Ellis kicked off the scoring for the Mustangs, hitting back-to-back early three-pointers to give Cal Poly a 6-4 lead in the first three minutes of the game.
After four straight missed shots by Cal Poly, Long Beach took an 11-6 lead until junior forward Zoe Stachowski scored the Mustangs’ first points in four minutes with a layup.
Senior forward Kirsty Brown brought Cal Poly within two with a jumper, ending the first quarter with a score of 14-12 in favor of the Beach.
In a back-in-forth second quarter, sophomore guard Maddie Willett gave the lead back to the Mustangs with a layup five minutes into the quarter. A Stachowski jumper widened their lead to four points.
With 28 seconds to go in the half, senior forward Sierra Campisano took the Mustangs into halftime with a 24-23 lead after a successful jump shot.
Both teams had foul trouble throughout the game, giving both Cal Poly and Long Beach ample scoring opportunities, especially in the first half. Cal Poly ended the game committing 12 personal fouls and Long Beach committing 11.
Brown continued her great day of scoring, getting the Mustangs’ first points of the second half with another jump shot. However, Long Beach took the lead back midway through the third quarter and led through the end of the period, going into the final quarter of play with a 37-32 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Ellis picked up her fourth personal foul of the game and was brought to the bench to prevent being fouled out.
Stachowski hit a pair of free throws to bring the Mustangs within three points of the Beach with seven minutes remaining in the game.
In a game defined by stellar defense from the Mustangs and thorough offensive ball movement, Long Beach’s Justina King was still able to hit back-to-back jump shots to give them a three-point lead with five minutes left.
After another Stachowski jump shot and a final free throw by the Beach’s Naomi Hunt, the score was 42-40 in favor of Long Beach with only 1:08 left in the game.
With 44 seconds, Ellis grabbed a steal from Kian Hamilton-Fisher made a layup on the fast break to tie the score at 42. This was Ellis’ first basket in the game since the pair of three-pointers she made early in the first quarter.
A strong defensive stand by the Mustangs resulted in Long Beach failing an attempted three-point shot with 12 seconds to go, giving Cal Poly the last possession and an opportunity to win the game.
Moving down the court, Willett passed the ball off to Ellis with exactly one second left. More than four feet outside the three-point line, Ellis took a buzzer-beating shot that was successful to complete the sweep over the current leaders in Big West Women’s Basketball.
Along with Ellis’ game-winning shot and team-high 11 points, Brown and Stachowski were huge in this win for Cal Poly as well. Brown recorded a double-double on 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Stachowski scored 10 points in just 17 minutes off the bench.
Cal Poly will look to continue its success in the Big West with an upcoming two-game away series against UC Davis beginning on Friday, Feb. 27.