Credit: Owen Main | Cal Poly Athletics, 2022

Cal Poly Women’s Basketball dropped the first matchup of the Blue-Green rivalry against UC Santa Barbara by a score of 65-59 on Saturday, Jan. 7 inside the Thunderdome.

The Mustangs (4-8, 1-3 Big West) let the Gauchos (9-4, 2-1 Big West) stretch their lead to 12 points at halftime. The Green and Gold, however, cut the lead to one in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell.

The two squads traded runs early, as a 6-2 run by Cal Poly was followed by a 10-2 run for the Gauchos to open up the game. 

Late in the first, the Mustangs drained two buckets and UCSB hit a buzzer-beater to tie the score at 14-14 through one quarter of play.

Cal Poly spread the ball in the first quarter, which became a theme for the game. Despite the loss, the Mustangs facilitated well with three double-digit scorers, while junior forward Natalia Ackerman was one point shy with nine.

Junior guard Taylor Wu opened up the second quarter with a three-point play – scoring two off the layup and making her free throw for the third. She led the Mustangs with 15 points, six of which came beyond the arc, in 26 minutes of play. 

With the score tied at 19, the Gauchos scored eight quick points off of good shots, drawing fouls and three-pointers. The Mustangs were unphased by the run, cutting the lead down to three at 29-26 with 2:43 left in the half. 

However, UCSB immediately went on another run, this time a 9-0 heater to close out the half up 38-26.

Out of the half, senior guard Maddie Willett drilled a three-pointer in the face of a Gaucho defender to start off the scoring. 

Willett had 12 points and eight rebounds and led the team with 34 minutes on the court.

A steal and fastbreak layup by sophomore point guard Jazzy Anousinh and free throws by graduate guard Oumou Toure cut UCSB’s lead to five with 1:13 remaining in the third. 

Toure went 7-for-10 from the line with five boards in 18 minutes of play. 

Going into the fourth and final quarter, Cal Poly was in striking distance, down 41-36.

The Mustangs started off the fourth quarter hot, going on an 8-2 run to bring the score to 53-52 with 4:58 left on the clock. 

However, the Gauchos hit a big three-pointer and forced the Mustangs to bring them to the free-throw line. UCSB ended the game on a 7-2 run to arrive at the final score of 65-59.  

Cal Poly will host Long Beach State on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center as they look to get back into the win column.