Cal Poly Women’s Basketball lost 79-52 to Fresno State in the season opener inside Mott Athletics Center on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Despite leading at halftime, the Mustangs (0-1) succumbed to 29 turnovers and a tenacious Fresno State full-court press to lose the home opener.

“I was pleased with our energy and our execution in the first half, and then the wheels came off in the second half,” head coach Faith Mimnaugh said.

One bright spot for Cal Poly was the regular season debut for junior forward Sierra Campisano, who led the team with 20 points and also added seven rebounds on the night. After redshirting last year, this was her first non-exhibition game with Cal Poly since transferring from Oregon.

“It felt great,” Campisano said. “I love these girls, and I was just so happy to be out on the court and playing with them… it’s been a long time.”

Each half could not have been more different for the Mustangs, who led 30-28 going into halftime. The Bulldogs pulled away in the second half, led by freshmen guards Haley and Hanna Cavinder, who combined for 40 points.

In her regular season debut as a Mustang, Sierra Campisano lead the team with 20 points. Andy Sherar | Mustang News

Cal Poly found success close to the rim early, as all 15 of their of their first quarter points came from inside the paint or from the free throw line. Fresno State made two 3-pointers in the last minute of the quarter to tie the score at 15-15. 

The Mustangs dominated up front in the first half through the combination of Campisano and senior forward Hana Vesela. The forward duo combined for 25 points in the half.

Cal Poly had trouble handling Fresno State’s full court press, giving up 13 turnovers in the first half. The Bulldogs capitalized, scoring 11 points off of those turnovers to keep the game close.

“We spent considerable time working against their press break, and we really lost our focus and discipline,” Mimnaugh said.

The Bulldogs came out firing to start the second half, going on a 10-2 run. The Mustangs responded with a 6-0 run themselves, led by a charge taken by freshman guard Abbey Ellis, to tie the game 38-38. However, the momentum was Fresno State’s from then on.  The Bulldogs led 48-41 going into the fourth quarter.

The Mustangs gave up two turnovers to start the fourth, and the deficit quickly reached 55-41. The Bulldogs put the game away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 31-11 in the period to prevent a late comeback. 

The inside game success for the Mustangs in the first half was not there in the second. They shot just 12.5 percent on 3-pointers for the game.

“If we had just swung the ball a little bit more and had more player movement, then we would’ve been able to get better shots,” Mimnaugh said.

The Mustangs will begin a two-game road trip on Sunday, Nov. 10, when they take on Pepperdine.

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