Cal Poly Women’s Basketball’s attempt at a Cinderella run to a Big West Championship will end abruptly, as the conference announced the cancellation of the 2020 Big West Tournament due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I feel terrible for all of our team,” head coach Faith Mimnaugh said. “They don’t get a chance to realize their dreams. and I certainly feel really badly for our seniors. There’s no recourse to replay this opportunity.”
As the lowest seed in the women’s basketball tournament, the No. 8 Cal Poly pulled off back-to-back upset victories over No. 5 Long Beach State and No. 3 UC Irvine inside Walter Pyramid in Long Beach. The Mustangs were dominant, never losing their lead in points through both games.
“I think there was a belief that we were probably playing better than any of the other teams in the league … and that we had a shot to realize our dream of going to the NCAA Tournament,” Mimnaugh said.
The NCAA announced the cancellation of its championship tournaments Thursday afternoon. The Cal Poly Women’s Basketball team returned to San Luis Obispo today.
“We don’t have all the information to know how these kinds of actions, of social hanging out, how much that impacts the spread of the virus,” Mimnaugh said. “So we’re all in to do whatever we need to not expose the more vulnerable population to the outbreak.”
Freshman point guard Abbey Ellis and redshirt junior forward Sierra Campisano combined for 50 points in Cal Poly’s 59-48 win over Long Beach State Tuesday. The Mustangs shot 46 percent from the field and went 5 for 10 from three-point range. Long Beach State was held to 27 percent shooting and 11 percent from beyond the arc.
The Mustangs remained dominant with a 70-49 win over the Anteaters Wednesday. Cal Poly led 35-22 at halftime and led by as much as 29 points with 3:35 remaining in the game. Ellis powered the Mustangs with a game-high 30 points. Senior forward Alicia Roufosse scored 18 points and Campisano added 14 points.
Cal Poly continued its season-best shooting, going 47 percent from the floor and 53 percent from beyond the arc. UC Irvine was held to 26 percent shooting.
There were no games scheduled for Thursday. The Mustangs were scheduled to play No.1 UC Davis in the semifinals inside the Honda Center Friday. Cal Poly will finish with a 11-18 overall record, 6-10 in the Big West Conference.
Cal Poly Men’s Basketball did not qualify for the Big West Tournament. All Big West sports have also been suspended.
“We can’t always predict tomorrow,” Mimnaugh said. “This a clear example of that. Sometimes you don’t have tomorrow. So play your hearts out while you have a chance.”