Cal Poly women’s basketball lost their first game back after four straight were canceled games due to COVID-19 to UC San Diego 69-58 on Thursday, Jan. 27 inside Mott Athletic Center.

Cal Poly (1-12, 0-4 Big West) was down four points with 3:58 left in the fourth quarter to the Tritons (8-8, 5-2 Big West), but they were unable to close the gap.

To open the game, junior point guard Maddie Vick got fouled going hard to the hoop. She made both free throws, putting the first points on the board for the Mustangs. 

Later in the quarter, junior forward Julia Nielacna showed her strength down low and powered through a double-team to score and put Cal Poly up 13-10. 

Despite the loss, Vick said that “we definitely saw the fight and grit our team has.” 

A three-pointer by Triton’s Brianna Claros with three seconds left in the first quarter put UC San Diego up 15-14. 

Midway through the second quarter, graduate forward Kirsty Brown went underneath and around the hoop for a clean finish in traffic, which closed the Mustang’s deficit to four points at 26-22.

As the second quarter continued, Cal Poly struggled to hit shots and back-to-back three-pointers by UC San Diego made their lead 34-22.

After some back and forth play, the Mustangs went into the halftime locker room down 39-31.

The Triton’s got into foul trouble early in the second half and a travel call gave the ball back to the Mustangs. Brown answered these San Diego miscues with eight straight points for Cal Poly as they began their comeback effort.

“The gals really locked down in the second half, they didn’t give up any offensive rebounds – zero – which was a huge thing for us,” head coach Faith Mimnaugh said. “That gave us a chance to be in the game.”

After junior guard Maddie Willett made a wide-open three, Cal Poly cut the Triton lead to just 47-44 towards the end of the third quarter. 

However, later in the quarter, San Diego called timeout and scored seven straight until Cal Poly was forced to call a timeout of their own with the score at 54-47. The Mustangs ended the third quarter down 58-50.

In the final quarter, Cal Poly was able to keep the game close, but the closest they ever got to a lead was four points. 

After keeping it relatively close, the Mustangs failed to score a point in the final minutes of the game and lost 69-58. 

Even though the game ended in an 11-point difference, much of the second half was a three-score game. 

Cal Poly will next take on UC Irvine on Saturday, Jan. 29 inside Mott Athletics Center at 2 p.m. 

“That’s the best thing about our schedule, a new opportunity in two days,” Vick said.

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