Abbey Ellis reaches for the ball on a defensive play. (Emmy Scherer / Mustang News)

Cal Poly finished the regular season on Saturday, March 6 losing the final game of a back-to-back weekend against UC Santa Barbara, 78-68 inside Mott Athletics Center. 

Cal Poly finished the regular season going 12-10 and 8-8 in Big West Conference play. Despite the loss to the Gauchos (7-13, 7-9 Big West), the Mustangs had already secured their No. 6 seed for the upcoming Big West Tournament in Las Vegas. 

The Mustangs began the first quarter with the first point of the game. A foul committed by UC Santa Barbara led to senior guard Chantel Govan making her first free throw and missing the second. The visiting team answered back with five straight points to make the score 5-3 with 7:40 left in the first quarter.

As the game continued, Cal Poly would fight to regain the lead after a made shot from senior forward Kristy Brown gave the Mustangs a 13-12 lead at the 3:11 mark. Brown tacked on another two points from a layup in the paint followed by a three-pointer by sophomore point guard Abbey Ellis to give the Mustangs an 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

Ellis continued the momentum for the home team with a fast break layup to put the Mustangs up three at the start of the second quarter. As the quarter progressed, Santa Barbara worked to keep the score tight with lead changing multiple times as both teams traded baskets. Cal Poly held onto the lead through the end of the first half with a score of 31-30.

As the second half began, senior forward Sierra Campisano made quick work to extend the Mustang lead with a fast break layup followed by a free throw to give the Mustangs a four-point lead. Santa Barbara made a quick comeback through their offense to regain the lead at the 7:03 mark. From there, the visiting team went on an offensive run as Santa Barbara scored 12 unanswered points making the score 48-36 with 2:33 left in the third. The Gauchos would maintain the lead through the rest of the quarter, going into the fourth quarter with a score of 53-40. 

Santa Barbara continued to pour it on the home team as they scored another seven unanswered points making the score 60-42 with 7:38 remaining in the game. The Mustangs worked to get back into the game as Brown made a two-point shot followed by a three-point shot from Ellis. Two more three-pointers from the Mustangs put them within seven with three minutes left in the game. This was the closest the score would be, as the Gauchos remained consistent on offense to retain the lead through the end of the game with the final score of 78-68. 

The Mustangs finished the game losing out on most of the offensive statistical battles. Cal Poly recorded worse field goal (42%-37%), three-point (45%-27.3%), and free throw (90%-80%) percentages. The Mustangs out-rebounded Santa Barbara 42-36 and had more steals with 10 compared the Gauchos’ three. 

The Mustangs play their first game of the Big West Tournament against No. 3 seed Long Beach State (12-8, 11-7) on Wednesday, March 7 at 8 p.m. in Las Vegas. 

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