Cal Poly Women’s Basketball made a big step towards securing a spot in the playoffs with a 56-52 win over UC Santa Barbara Wednesday Feb. 26 inside Mott Athletics Center.
“[The Blue-Green rivalry victory] feels really, really good, this is a really important week for us too,” redshirt junior forward Sierra Campisano said.
With the win, the Mustangs improved to a 5-9 record for eighth place in Big West Conference play.
Campisano led all players with 26 points. Freshman point guard Abbey Ellis added nine points for the Mustangs while senior forward Alicia Roufosse and junior guard Hannah Peterson each scored eight points in the win.
Freshman forward Ila Lane and redshirt senior guard Coco Miller paced UC Santa Barbara with 19 and 16 points.
Cal Poly (8-17, 5-9 Big West) held UC Santa Barbara (12-15, 7-7 Big West) to 34 percent shooting from the field while the Mustangs shot 40 percent.
UC Santa Barbara opened the first quarter with an early jumper from junior point guard Danae Miller. Less than a minute later, Ellis drove to the basket to convert a layup to even the score at 2-2.
Cal Poly went on a 9-3 scoring drive that was put to a hold by a Lane layup that brought the score to 11-7 midway into the quarter.
The Mustangs responded with an 11-0 run that lasted over four minutes to grant its biggest lead of the night. Danae Miller made a free throw to close out the first quarter at 22-8 in favor of the Mustangs.
Although UC Santa Barbara outscored Cal Poly 15-8 in the second quarter, the Gauchos only managed to pull within seven points. Lane scored the first 4 out of 5 buckets of the quarter for the Gauchos to cut the deficit to 28-19 with 5:05 remaining.
The Mustangs ended a four-minute scoreless drought when Campisano quickly passed the ball to an unguarded Peterson, who scored a layup to extend their lead at 30-21. More than a minute later, Lane scored the last bucket of the quarter to bring the score to 30-23 at halftime, in favor of the Mustangs.
In the first half, Lane scored 12 of the Gaucho’s 23 points, while Campisano scored 12 of the Mustang’s 30. Each team committed four turnovers in the first half.
“We really locked in on defense at halftime and didn’t want [Lane] to go off,” Campisano said.
Lane scored the first points of the second half by scoring a layup to bring the score to 30-25. The Mustangs immediately responded with a Peterson three-pointer to extend their lead at 33-25.
UC Santa Barbara pulled within three points at 35-32 thanks to a Lane layup that would result in the last Gaucho field goal of the quarter. Through the next six minutes, the Gauchos converted 5 of 8 from the line to cut the lead to 43-37.
The momentum built up in the final quarter as both sides exchanged leads. A deep three-point jumper from Danae Miller evened the score at 45-45 just before the seven-minute mark. Campisano quickly regained the Mustang’s lead at 50-45 after scoring a three-pointer.
UC Santa Barbara then went on an unresponsive 6-0 run that was capped off by a layup from senior guard Tal Sahar to put the Gauchos ahead at 52-50 with 2:20 remaining. This resulted in the Gaucho’s first lead since the start of the first quarter.
However, the Gaucho lead did not last long as Ellis converted a jump shot from beyond the arc to regain the Mustang’s lead at 53-52.
“[Ellis] came in and that was a really really clutch shot,” Campisano said. “She has a very bright three years ahead of her after this.”
More than a minute later, Campisano converted a pair of free throws that placed the Mustangs ahead by three at 55-52 with 28 seconds until the final buzzer. Campisano converted one free throw to close the game out at 56-52.
“We just stuck together, we knew that this was our game, we wanted it, we needed this win and I know I had complete confidence in all of my teammates,” Campisano said. “I think we all trusted each other.”
Peterson reached a career-high 11 rebounds as Cal Poly outrebounded UC Santa Barbara 42-33.
Cal Poly will remain at home to take on CSUN on Saturday Feb. 29. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
“We’re ready for Saturday,” Peterson said.