Domination down low and a flurry of scoring by freshman point guard Abbey Ellis powered Cal Poly Women’s Basketball to a 61-41 win over Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Mustangs (6-14, 3-6 Big West) avenged a three-point loss to Long Beach (10-12, 5-4) earlier this season with this win, their second in three games.
Ellis scored 13 points on 4-5 shooting in the third quarter, including a trio of threes, en route to 17 points on the game. The freshman was able to outscore Long Beach 13-11 on her own in the period.
“I couldn’t have shot those shots without that ball movement… it’s just having confidence in myself and my teammates,” Ellis said.
“We just know she has ice in her veins,” senior forward Alicia Roufosse said, “and that’s so rare, for a freshman to come in and ball out like a fifth-year senior… I mean, we trust her with our lives.”
Both offenses came out cold to begin the game, until junior guard Malia Holt opened the scoring with 7:09 remaining in the first quarter. Each team traded two layups to make the score 6-4.
A jump shot by junior forward Sierra Campisano with 5:04 left doubled Cal Poly’s lead heading into the first media timeout.
Roufosse scored eight points in the opening quarter, six of them coming off of layups. The senior recorded a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.
A three-pointer by Long Beach guard Justina King with 0:19 left on the clock closed out the first quarter. The Mustangs held onto a tight 14-11 lead.
The second period began slowly as well, with Roufosse scoring the first two points over two minutes in. The Mustangs dominated down low in the first half, led by Roufosse. Their strategy of throwing long inside passes to their forwards paid off, as Roufosse had 14 points in the first half, 12 of them coming on layups.
The Mustangs also recorded 19 assists, compared to their season average of 11.9 per game. Holt and junior guard Chantel Govan each had six assists.
“I think it was definitely the guards looking to get it into us,” Roufosse said. “They did some really good passing, I think we had a really balanced assist ratio across the board with our guards, so that really helped.”
Long Beach scored their first points of the quarter with 5:23 remaining, through a three-point play from Jasmine Hardy. Campisano recorded five consecutive points to give Cal Poly a 29-17 going into halftime.
Tenacious defense by the Mustangs limited Long Beach to just 17 first half points. They forced a total of 13 turnovers in the period, five of which came on steals.
Ellis opened the second half scorching, scoring Cal Poly’s first 11 points of the third quarter. The freshman guard scored two free-throws to make the score 40-20 with 5:05 left in the quarter.
Jasmine Hardy kept the Long Beach within striking distance with eight points in the quarter. A baseline jumper from Roufosse made the score 46-28 in favor of the Mustangs heading into the fourth quarter.
A small comeback by Long Beach headlined by consecutive threes by guards Ma’qhi Berry and Alexis Legan made the game interesting, but the continued dominance down low by Roufosse and Campisano secured the win for the Mustangs.
Despite improvement in the fourth quarter, Long Beach shot just 35.6 percent from the field for the game, along with 25 percent on free throws.
The Mustangs play next against first place UC Davis (12-10, 7-1) on Wednesday, Feb. 12 inside Mott Athletics Center.
“It’s going to be tough, but we believe we can beat anyone in this conference, and today I really think we showed that we’re a top-notch team,” Ellis said.