Joseph Pack/Mustang News

Junior guard Ariana Elegado poured in a team-high 18 points in Cal Poly’s 89-72 win over UC Riverside on Saturday.

Erik Chu

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The Cal Poly women’s basketball team continued its dominance at home, improving to 8-0 this season on its home floor and to 5-1 in Big West  play as the Mustangs defeated UC Riverside 89-72 on Saturday in Mott Athletics Center.

Right from the opening tip, the Mustangs were ready to play. Junior guard Ariana Elegado and senior guard Jonae Ervin led the way for Cal Poly, providing both scoring and passing for their teammates.

Elegado led the team with 18 points, going 7 of 14 from the field and 4 of 8 from 3-point range. She also added a team-high seven assists with two steals.

Elegado continued her stand-out season, where she is averaging 16.7 points per game.

“My teammates give me confidence, and just having that mentality that no one can stop us really gives us an advantage when playing,” Elegado said.

Ervin scored 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and produced five assists. Junior guard Kristen Ale was the third Mustang in double figures as she scored 10 points off the bench. Twelve Cal Poly players scored on the night.

The hot shooting from Elegado and Ervin propelled the Mustangs to an early 15-4 lead, and Cal Poly never looked back. An Elegado lay up pushed Cal Poly’s lead to 20 at one point in the half. At halftime, the Mustangs held a 45-26 lead over the Highlanders.

The Mustangs held their largest lead of the game, 28 points with 7:47 left in the game, when sophomore guard Paige Brown converted a three-point play. The Mustangs settled for the eventual 17-point win.

Cal Poly also dominated UC Riverside on the stat sheet, holding significant advantage in terms of field goal percentage, shots from long-range and assists.

Cal Poly shot a season-high 53 percent from the field, marking the third time this season the Mustangs have shot 50 percent or better in a game. The Mustangs hit on 47 percent of their shots from beyond the arc and made 11 of 16 from the free throw line.

Conversely, the Highlanders shot 34 percent and made just 3 of 12 from 3-point land.

Saturday’s defensive performance impressed head coach Faith Mimnaugh.

“I thought our team did an excellent job defensively, in terms of ball pressure and getting in the passing lanes,” Mimnaugh said. “In the game plan, we emphasized having vision of the basketball at all times and playing the gaps and shutting down the penetration lanes. I thought this game we made strides in our defensive ability.”

One of the few bright spots for UC Riverside was Simone DeCoude, who led the Highlanders with 20 points.

The win keeps the Mustangs in first place in the Big West and, according to Ervin, gives the team more confidence as it tries to win another conference title.

“From here on out, every game is going to be a rivalry game,” Ervin said. “I’m confident in our team that we will use our strengths and play our game at all times.”

Cal Poly will return to action on Jan. 30, when they travel to UC Davis for a game at 7 p.m.

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