Mustang Daily Staff Report
The women’s basketball team is focused on finishing, according to redshirt sophomore point guard Ariana Elegado. After two straight road losses, including a game in which they led by 10 points with less than 11 minutes to play, the team returns to Mott Athletics Center to take on Cal State Fullerton tonight at 7 p.m. and UC Riverside on Saturday. The Mustangs have gone 7-3 overall and 3-0 in Big West play in San Luis Obispo this season.
“We have to stick together and find a way to fight in the second half,” Elegado said. “It always happens to us. In the first half, we do really well, but in the second half we have no energy.”
The Titans and Highlanders are in seventh and eighth place in the Big West, giving the fifth-place Mustangs an opening to close in on the conference-leading UC Irvine squad.
Elegado, the Mustangs’ leading scorer, was conspicuously quiet during the Mustangs’ road trip last week, scoring just 13 points in two games, but she’s looking to regain her stride this weekend.
“These past few games I’ve been down, but other people have been stepping up,” she said. “It’s not all about one person.”
Junior center Molly Schlemer has scored double-figures in six consecutive games, including three games when she scored more than 20 points, and figures to be integral to the Mustangs’ lineup going forward.
“This year (Schlemer) has the mentality and the confidence that no one can stop her,” Elegado said. “The reason that she’s so consistent is because she has that confidence.”
The Mustangs trip to Hawaii was no vacation. Elegado said the team was completely focused on basketball during its time on the island, but the long flight and time change may have contributed to the Mustangs 61-43 loss to Hawaii.
The team returned to the mainland and, without stopping at its hotel, went straight to practice for its game against Cal State Northridge
Against the Matadors, Cal Poly jumped out to a five-point halftime lead and worked its advantage to 10 points midway through the second half. However, Cal State Northridge rallied to tie the game and force the Mustangs into overtime. The Matadors eventually prevailed in 80-70 double overtime. It was the second time in four games that the Mustangs went into double overtime; the Mustangs beat Pacific 96-95 in triple overtime on Jan. 12.
Cal Poly is still coping with the loss of senior Brittany Woodard, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the Mustangs’ triple-overtime win against Pacific. The team is 1-2 without her on the court.
J.J. Jenkins contributed to this report.