Cal Poly women’s basketball got their second win of the season against Cal State Fullerton by a score of 61-52 on Thursday, Feb. 3 inside Mott Athletics Center. 

When asked how it felt to get the conference win, head coach Faith Mimnaugh laughed and cheered, “awesome!”

Cal Poly (2-13, 1-5 Big West) grabbed their first Big West win of the season against the Titans (8-10, 3-5 Big West).

“We have been taking steps forward every single game to get to this point and it’s great to have it pay off, it feels amazing,” junior point guard Maddie Vick said.

Vick led the team to victory with 12 points, nine assists and a steal in 38 minutes of play.

“[Vick] has been everything for us,” Mimnaugh said. “She is a tremendous person, terrific player; we wouldn’t be in any mix of any game if we did not have her — really proud of her.”

To start the game, a steal by junior guard Maddie Willet and drive from end-to-end put the first points on the board. 

Freshman point guard Annika Shah checked into the game halfway through the first quarter and scored a mid-range shot on her first possession to make the Mustang lead 10-2.

At the end of the quarter, Shah swished a three-pointer and put the Mustangs up 16-15.

Graduate forward Kirsty Brown set the tone to start the second quarter with a huge block against Cal State Fullerton. The block filled Mott Athletics Center with an energy that helped push the team to victory.

Vick scored a floater over traffic and then finished low and wide on a layup through three defenders to put the Mustangs up 26-20 midway through the second quarter. 

However, Cal State Fullerton went on the score nine straight points. Shah stopped the skid with a short-range floater and, the next Cal Poly possession, Shah fed a bounce pass through traffic to senior forward Hannah Scanlan to close out the half up one to the Titans, 30-29. 

The Mustangs started off the second half slow, so they made some substitutions on the court. One of those subs was Brown, who got the first points of the half. These subs proved to be effective, as the Mustangs took over in the third quarter.

Willett hit back-to-back three pointers, one of which came multiple feet beyond the arc. This put the Mustangs up 44-35. Cal Poly ended the half up by six with a score of 45-39.

However, the four quarter started with troubles. The Mustangs missed four layups and only scored one basket in the first five minutes of play.

The slow start “puts a lot of pressure on the defense,” according to Mimnaugh.

When asked how the team was able to stay in the game, Willett said, “we keep telling ourselves we can do it and we remind ourselves how far we came in the game.” 

Brown’s left-handed reverse layup ended the scoring drought and made it 51-45 in favor of Cal Poly. 

Willett followed with a basket of her own and then Vick scored two more on free throws. 

The rest of the game ended with the Titans forcing the Mustang to the line with intentional fouls. Free throws from an assortment of players helped Cal Poly close the game out 61-52. 

When the final buzzer rang, the team ran out onto the court in celebration, joined by multiple fans from the stands as well.

“Everyone was so excited, when the coaches came in [the locker room], we water bottle-soaked them,” Maddie Willett said. 

“I thought we made a step in basketball 101 tonight,” coach Mimnaugh said about the team’s performance.

The Mustangs will look to keep their momentum going into the weekend against Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 5 inside Mott Athletics Center.

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