The women’s basketball team (2-0) soundly defeated Division II CSU Monterey Bay 88-57 before a small but enthusiastic crowd in Mott Gym on Saturday.
Junior forward Megan Harrison jumpstarted Poly’s lead when she scored the first point of the game on a free throw two minutes into the first half.
Although the Mustangs seemed slow to get started, they consistently scored and led in points throughout the first half. The Mustangs had a .37 field goal percentage in the first half. A .50 percentage from behind the arch and .75 average from the free throw line contributed to a 17-point Mustang lead at the end of the first half.
In the second half, the team came out and dominated, looking refreshed and energized following a halftime talk.
Guards senior Sparkle Anderson and sophomore Tamara Wells led the team with three assists each. Forward Megan Harrison grabbed nine rebounds, closely followed by fellow forward Nicole Yarwasky, who had eight. Overall, the team brought their field goal percentage up to almost .40, holding the Otters to just .34.
Harrison led the Mustangs with 13 points and nine rebounds while the Otters’ junior guard Dana Andrews led all scorers with 22 points. The Mustangs shot .67 from the free throw line while the Otters shot .57 percent.
The Mustangs had 21 steals in the game while giving up only five. Similarly, the Mustangs overtook the Otters in assists, dishing out 18 to their 12.
Head coach Faith Mimnaugh said she hoped the team would continue to improve so that they will be in top form for their game against Oregon State this Saturday. She said that their success will come from the entire team working well together rather than any individual achievement.
Mimnaugh said the team needed to work on rebounds and applying pressure before they head to Oregon. Last year Cal Poly defeated the Beavers 68-65, the first time the team defeated a Pac-10 team since the late ’70s.
“We intend to press them because they pressured us last year. Also, (we’ll work on) our half-court offense. We were a little bit lethargic today, but hopefully we’ll take care of business there and see some improvements this week,” Mimnaugh said.
Junior guard Lisa McBride put up 12 points against the Otters and said she was pleased with the way her team performed on Saturday.
“In the second half we picked up team intensity,” McBride said. “We knew we needed to support each other because we are all good and we just need to be there for each other.”
For their game against Oregon, McBride echoed her coach’s belief that ball pressure and a good team defense would be key areas to work on.
Wells was one of the standout players at Saturday’s game with 10 points and eight steals. This result was one of Wells’ best so far.
“It’s nothing new for me, just by going out there and playing basketball it came to me,” Wells said. “But that’s what I try to do, get the team going by getting steals and being aggressive.”
She said the team did a good job offensively running the floor, passing the ball and looking for each other. She also said they made improvements on the defensive end.
“Defensively, we really did well making sure we had our hands off and using our feet,” Wells said. “We have a habit of not doing that and playing hands on, so we definitely made the adjustment and I think we all developed some better skills in that area.”
As far as making improvements for the upcoming game against Oregon, Wells said, “I don’t want to change anything I’m doing.”
Wells said that the team is excited about their upcoming match, their first regular season match of the year.
“Everybody’s looking forward to that game and knows it’s going to be a big game, so we’ll go out there and work really hard,” Wells said.
The Mustangs will be traveling to Corvallis, Ore. to take on the Beavers this coming Saturday at 3 p.m. The Beavers are coming off a 71-39 win over Lewis and Clark. The team was led by center Tiffany Ducker, who had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and freshman guard Talisa Rhea, who was the high scorer with 15 points.