Cal Poly handled UC Riverside in the first game of a weekend doubleheader by the score of 56-43 on Friday, Jan. 29 inside the UCR Student Recreation Center.

The win put the Mustangs above .500 on the season, improving their record to 6-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play. The Highlanders dropped to 5-6 overall and are now 2-3 in conference play as well.

The game got off to a slow start for both teams, with no points being scored until senior forward Sierra Campisano hit a three-pointer with 7:28 left in the quarter. 

Campisano’s three triggered an offensive run for the Mustangs that saw them leading 8-0 with five minutes remaining in the half, including a three by sophomore guard Maddie Willett and a layup by Campisano.

Despite this early run, the Highlanders were able to come back and make it a two-point game at the end of the first quarter, with Cal Poly leading 13-11. 

The second quarter was a back and forth affair, with each team exchanging baskets until there were five minutes remaining in the half. At that point, the Mustangs began to pull away and ended the first half with a 31-23 lead thanks to sophomore point guard Abbey Ellis’ third three-pointer of the game.

At the halfway mark, Cal Poly had much more success shooting the ball, landing 48% of their field goals while shooting 41.7% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, UC Riverside could only convert 20.7% of their field goals while shooting 33.3% from three. Ellis led all scorers with nine points, while Campisano was close behind with seven of her own.

Coming out of halftime, the Mustang defense continued to limit the scoring of the Highlanders, allowing just eight points in the third quarter. Offensively, Cal Poly was able to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the quarter led by six points from senior forward Kirsty Brown. Heading into the final quarter of play, the Mustangs held a commanding 45-31 lead.

The fourth quarter proved to be a continuation of the third as Cal Poly continued to limit the UC Riverside offense while converting on the offensive side. As the clock expired, the Mustangs found themselves on top by the score of 56-43.

Cal Poly continued their hot shooting in the second half and ended the game with a total field goal percentage of 50% including 38.5% from three. The Highlanders struggled heavily shooting in the second half and found themselves with a field goal percentage of 21.8% at the end of the game, and just 21.1% from beyond the arc.

The Mustangs dominated in the paint, outscoring UC Riverside 30-6, thanks to the efforts of Campisano and Brown who had 11 and seven points respectively. Ellis led all scorers with 13 points while adding five rebounds.

These two teams will square off again for the second half of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday, Jan. 30 inside the UCR Student Recreation Center at 3:00pm. 

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