Credit: Mia-Isobel Craig | Mustang News, 2022

Cal Poly women’s basketball opened up a midweek, two-game road trip with a one-sided 80-43 loss to No. 2 Stanford on Wednesday, Nov. 16 inside Maples Pavilion.

The loss was the Mustangs’ (1-2) sixth straight on the road dating back to last season, while the win helped Stanford (5-0) continue its momentum ahead of a highly anticipated showdown with No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday.

At first, though, it seemed like the Mustangs might find a way to keep the game tight. In the game’s initial minutes, the two squads were evenly contested as Cal Poly took an 8-6 lead with 5:25 to go in the opening frame, thanks to a three-pointer from sophomore point guard Annika Shah.

However, that was as close as the game would get. Stanford tied it up before the media timeout and then proceeded to go on a 15-0 run for the final 4:30 of the quarter, giving themselves a 23-8 lead after the first ten minutes had ticked off the clock.

From there, it was all Stanford the rest of the way. The Cardinal scored the first four points of the second quarter before senior guard Maddie Willett and graduate guard Oumou Toure made threes on consecutive possessions. 

Stanford then, like the first quarter, proceeded to end the frame by going on a 15-0 run, this one broken only by an and-one layup from freshman forward Sierra Lichtie with a tenth of a second left, giving the Cardinal a 42-17 lead at the break.

The rest of the game played out much the same way the first half had. While the Mustangs came out of the break with their best effort of the night, scoring 16 points in the third quarter, it was too little and far too late, as Stanford scored 20 of their own in the third, and effectively put the game away for good. 

In the fourth, Cal Poly did their best to go out with their heads held high, but a 7-0 solo scoring run over three minutes for Stanford by freshman Lauren Betts all but sealed the game at 76-39. And, when the final buzzer sounded, the loss was made official by a score of 80-43.

Despite the loss, there was one notable bright spot on the evening for the Mustangs. Coming into Wednesday’s game, no team this season had held the Cardinal to fewer than 86 points in a single contest, and no team had lost to them by fewer than 38 points. The Mustangs did both Wednesday evening, as they allowed 80 and lost by 37.

As a team, however, the Mustangs were outshot from the field by the Cardinal and turned the ball over 20 times on their way to the loss.

Individually, graduate guard Niki Kovacikova was the lone Cal Poly player in double digits in scoring, adding 11 points. Shah followed Kovacikova with eight points of her own.

The Mustangs will look to get back in the win column when they visit the Fresno State Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. inside the Save Mart Center.