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The tie for second place in Big West women’s basketball will be snapped on Saturday at the Thunderdome in Goleta.

Cal Poly (8-6 overall, 3-1 Big West) will take on archrival UC Santa Barbara (8-7, 3-1) in a crucial conference match-up.

“They have tall inside players,” Cal Poly’s leading scorer Jessica Eggleston said. “We’ve been working on our press so we don’t have to get into the half-court and defend their post players – We’ve also been working on our offense, getting more motion out of it and reading each other.”

Coach Faith Mimnaugh also acknowledged UCSB’s height as a factor Cal Poly will have to counter.

“Rebounding will be one of the biggest categories we’ll have to control in order to beat the Gauchos,” Mimnaugh said.

The Mustangs have averaged 42.5 rebounds per game this season, while UCSB has been pulling down 39.3 boards per contest.

History will be in favor of the Gauchos, as is home court advantage. UCSB has defeated Cal Poly for eight straight games, and have won 25 of the teams’ last 26 meetings. The Gauchos have been virtually unstoppable at home, capturing victories in 15 of the last 16 games.

“They have a very good home court crowd,” Eggleston said. “It may help them, but we have to come ready to play.”

The Mustangs kicked off conference play with three straight wins over UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine, before losing to Long Beach on Jan. 9. The Mustangs lost a non-conference game last Friday against UC Davis.

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