Cal Poly women’s basketball fell to Long Beach State 76-54 in the opening Big West matchup on Thursday, Dec. 30 inside the Walter Pyramid. 

In the first quarter, the Mustangs (1-9, 0-1 Big West) took a 6-4 lead after freshman point guard Annika Shah made a three-point jumper. However, the Sharks (8-1, 1-0 Big West) answered with an 8-0 run to give them a 12-6 advantage before closing out the quarter with a 15-10 lead.

The Sharks broke the game open just three minutes into the second quarter, as they jumped out to a 27-14 lead after going on a 12-4 run. Long Beach State led by 18 points with three minutes left in the quarter before the Mustangs cut the Sharks’ lead to 36-23 at halftime. 

Cal Poly gained some momentum back when they scored six consecutive points early in the third quarter to cut the lead to 36-29. However, Long Beach State answered with a 10-0 run to take a 46-29 lead. At the end of the quarter, the Sharks held a commanding 54-36 advantage.

The Mustangs cut the Shark lead down to as low as 14 points halfway through the final quarter, but Long Beach State closed out the game by recording their biggest lead of 24 points with 16 seconds remaining before winning 76-54. 

While the Mustangs shot a better three-point percentage than the Sharks at 36.8 percent compared to 33.3 percent, Long Beach State recorded a better field goal percentage by a margin of 48.1 to 42. 

Junior forward Julia Nielacna led the Mustangs with 13 points while junior guard Maddie Willett added 12 points. 

The Mustangs were scheduled to play Cal State Fullerton on New Year’s Day. However, on Wednesday, Dec. 29 it was announced that due to COVID-19 within the Titan program, the game will be canceled.

Cal Poly will now look to take on rival UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m inside Mott Athletics Center. 

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