Cal Poly lost by 34 points to the University of the Pacific in Stockton on Jan. 26. Last Saturday, the Mustangs returned the favor with a 38-point victory in San Luis Obispo.
On Wednesday, the two women’s basketball teams met on a neutral court in the opening round of the Big West Conference Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.
Cal Poly fell behind by 10 points in the first seven minutes, but quickly turned it around, scoring 48 points in the first half and coasting to a 94-67 victory over the Tigers.
Coach Faith Mimnaugh’s Mustangs have evened their record at 13-13, one win short of the school Division I record, and will take a three-game winning streak into the second round Thursday at 2:30 p.m. against UC Riverside. The Highlanders (13-14) earned a first-round bye as the fourth seed; Cal Poly is seeded fifth.
Cal Poly produced five double-digit scorers and forced 29 Pacific turnovers while notching a season-high 26 assists Wednesday.
Junior forward Jessica Eggleston, who became Cal Poly’s first All-Big West first-team selection on Tuesday, led the Mustangs on Wednesday with 15 points, sinking five-of-eight floor shots and four of five free throws.
She also grabbed a team-high six rebounds as the Mustangs edged the Tigers on the boards 39-38.
Freshman Megan Harrison added 12 points and five rebounds while senior Courtney Cameron contributed 11 points. Junior point guard Sparkle Anderson and senior Jennifer Dooley each scored 10 points and Anderson also tallied seven assists and three steals.
Pacific’s quartet of double-digit scorers was led by Kelsey Lavender with 15 points. The Tigers ended their season with a 6-22 record.
Pacific bolted to a 21-11 lead, a run capped by Lavender’s three-pointer with 14:21 to go in the first half. Cal Poly scored the next nine points to get back into the game took the lead for good at 30-28 on a jump shot by senior Michelle Henke with 4:19 to go.
That field goal started a 20-5 Cal Poly run for a 48-33 advantage and the Mustangs settled for a 48-35 lead at the break.
Pacific never got closer than 12 points in the second half and Cal Poly led by as many as 29 points down the stretch, outscoring the Tigers 46-32 in the second half.
The Mustangs, who led the conference in three-point shooting with a 41.2 percent reading early in January, went into a slump, sinking just 21.4 percent (43 of 201) over the last 13 games of the regular season.
But on Wednesday, Cal Poly connected on 11-of-21 three-pointers (52.4 percent) and hit 48.6 percent of its floor shots overall. Pacific was held to just 34.3 percent efficiency in the second half after sinking 53.8 percent in the first 20 minutes of play, finishing at 42.6 percent.
Emilie Ravn contributed eight points, six rebounds and four steals for Cal Poly.
Carolina Ruiz notched 13 points and 10 assists for Pacific.
Cal Poly opened Big West play Dec. 29 with an 87-53 win at UC Riverside and the Highlanders edged the Mustangs 48-47 on Feb. 12 in Mott Gym when Cal Poly was in the midst of a six-game losing streak.