Cal Poly women’s basketball fell 59-53 to UC Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 19 inside Mott Athletics Center. 

Cal Poly (3-17, 2-9 Big West) failed to have any starters score in double figures in the game, but freshman point guard Annika Shah and senior power forward Zoe Stachowski both scored 11 points off the bench to lead the Mustang offense. UC Riverside (9-10, 6-6 Big West) collected their third straight Big West win, bringing them back to a .500 record in conference play. 

The Mustangs had the early advantage taking a 9-5 lead midway through the first quarter after a free throw by freshman shooting guard Sydney Bourland. Bourland had five of the first nine Mustang points in the game. 

With 2:04 remaining in the first the Mustangs held just a 13-12 lead. However, they finished the quarter strong, scoring the final nine points of the quarter to take a 22-12 lead into the second quarter. 

The second quarter was dominated by the Highlanders. The ten-point Mustang lead disappeared after an 11-0 run to start the quarter by UC Riverside. A layup by Bourland momentarily regained the lead for Cal Poly, but only until UC Riverside hit a three-pointer two possessions later. 

All-in-all, the Highlanders outscored the Mustangs 18-4 in the second quarter, giving themselves a 30-26 lead going into the break. 

The third quarter was back-and-forth with neither team being able to take control of the game. The Highlanders were keeping the Mustangs at bay, and with 2:19 left in the quarter, a three-pointer to take a six point lead seemed like it might be enough for UC Riverside to pull away. 

Cal Poly responded in a big way, however, with an 8-2 run over that final time period, including two pivotal free-throws by Shah with 17 seconds on the clock to tie the game going into the fourth. 

The fourth quarter started with a Mustang lead after Shah scored a layup to put Cal Poly on the board first. The Highlanders responded on the next possession with an and-one to tie the game and take the lead on the free throw. 

This was one of five ties in the quarter between the two teams. The final tie came with 1:16 remaining in the game after a Stachowski layup to even the score at 51 apiece. However, after this point the Highlanders took over down the stretch to put the game out of reach by outscoring the Stangs 8-2 over that time period. UC Riverside went on to win the game by a final score of 59-53. 

Despite the loss, Cal Poly outscored UC Riverside 38-22 in the paint and the Mustang bench had a huge day, outscoring the HIghlander bench 26-16.

Cal Poly will look to get back on track in their next match up when they take on CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, Feb. 22 inside the Icardo Center.

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