Ian Billings/Staff Photographer

Junior guard Ariana Elegado scored a team-high 22 points in the Cal Poly women’s basketball team’s loss to UC Davis on Thursday.

Keenan Donath
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The Cal Poly women’s basketball team took on UC Davis Thursday night in a crucial Big West conference game at Mott Athletics Center. In their previous matchup, the Mustangs rode to a nine-point victory on the back of their senior center Molly Schlemer, who scored 26 points and snagged nine rebounds.

With that in mind, the UC Davis coaching staff made sure to go right at Schlemer on Thursday in hopes of getting her into foul trouble early. The Aggies did just that, limiting Schlemer to only 17 minutes of play as they ran away from Cal Poly 77-69.

The first half of the game belonged to the Mustangs, though. While Schlemer was hassled by a pesky Aggie frontcourt, Cal Poly’s guards were able to take advantage on the perimeter. Junior guard Ariana Elegado made her first four 3-pointers of the game.

“For me, once I make a few I know that I am on fire and it was my teammates who were giving me good passes,” Elegado said.

Elegado would go on to score 17 points in the first half, as she helped secure a five-point lead going into the second half. While this type of scoring has been common for the Mustangs this season, it was hardly sustainable against UC Davis.

“I know I am not going to be on fire for 40 minutes, so I think I needed to attack more and get to the free throw line more,” Elegado said.

Cal Poly was at the line sparingly, while UC Davis saw a lot of action at the charity stripe.

“Twenty two to six [free throws], I think that was the difference in the game,” Cal Poly head coach Faith Minmaugh said.

Led by sophomore center Alyson Doherty, the Aggies were able to put pressure on Cal Poly’s defense as they collected 14 free throws to the Mustang’s zero in the second half. A 3-point shot by sophomore Celia Marfone gave UC Davis the lead and two clutch free throws by junior Sydnee Fipps would solidify it as the Aggies closed the game on a 12-2 run.

“I thought that that we really struggled to get an inside attack and we never even got to the bonus and that’s never happened one time this whole season,” Mimnaugh said.

But besides the strong first half play of Elegado, there were a couple of other noteworthy Mustang performances. Junior forward Taryn Garza managed five blocks and two steals in a solid defensive effort, as well as seven rebounds. Senior guard Jonae Ervin scored sixteen points, which put her over the 1,000-point mark for her Cal Poly career. She became the 11th player in school history to accomplish the feat.

Ervin, who holds the record for most assists in Cal Poly history, was happy with the accomplishment, but was quick to put it in perspective.

“It is a great honor, but I am more focused on winning games,” Ervin said.

The Mustangs (15-12, 9-5 Big West) look to get back to their winning ways when they take on UC Irvine at Mott Athletics Center on Saturday.

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