Cal Poly fell to UC Santa Barbara for the first time since 2011 on Thursday night. | Ian Billings/Mustang News File Photo

The Cal Poly women’s basketball team opened its season by defeating Texas A&M – Corpus Christi 56-45 on Friday evening.

After outscoring Corpus Christi 15-7 in the first quarter, the Mustangs struggled in the second, allowing the Islanders to outscore them 18-8 and go into halftime with a 25-23 lead

Cal Poly went on a 7-0 run to start the pivotal third quarter, with junior forward Amanda Lovely, junior forward Hannah Gilbert and senior guard Beth Balbierz all contributing buckets.

The Mustangs continued their dominant quarter by going on a 10-0 run following a Corpus Christi 3-pointer. Balbierz and Gilbert made key shots, while senior point guard Lisa Marie Sanchez chipped in with a 3 of her own.

The Mustangs dominated the paint throughout the game, outscoring Corpus Christi 28-8 down low

Balbierz led all players in scoring with 21 points, shooting a blistering 8-for-12 from the field and knocking down five three-pointers.

Gilbert finished with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Sanchez played 35 of the game’s 40 minutes and dished out 7 assists while not committing any turnovers.

The only downside of the Mustangs’ win was their lack of bench production. All substitutes were held scoreless in 47 combined minutes of court time.

The Mustangs will next face Texas Rio Grande Valley at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in Corpus Christi.

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