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Saint Mary's Wins Overtime Thriller at Cal Poly, 65-64

Saint Mary's Wins Overtime Thriller at Cal Poly, 65-64

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A 3-pointer by Ariana Elegado with 0.6 seconds left in regulation tied the Cal Poly women's basketball team with Saint Mary's at 59 on Sunday in Mott Athletics Center, but the Gaels won by the slimmest of margins in overtime, 65-64.

The game opened with the Mustangs taking their largest lead of the day at 23-16 on a free throw by senior guard Kristen Ale with 10:57 to go before the break.

But SMC (7-2) — the latest Team of the Week after back-to-back wins over CSUN and USC — rallied to head to the locker room up 35-32 following a close first half that included six ties and seven lead changes.

Cal Poly (4-4) again went up by seven in the second half, taking a 46-39 advantage on a basket by senior forward Taryn Garza at the 10:01 mark, ending a 14-2 run.

The Gaels again battled back, eventually regaining the lead at 51-48 on a 3 by their leading scorer, Lauren Nicholson, with 3:01 remaining.

They then led 59-56 with seven seconds to play following a pair of free throws from Shannon Mauldin, before Elegado forced the extra period. The all-conference senior guard created her look a few feet above the top-right curve of the arc to release the game-tying shot.

Elegado kept it going in OT, making back-to-back runners in the lane for a 63-61 lead, which Ale would push to 64-61 on a free throw with 1:39 left.

Mauldin drove for a layup just seven seconds later, though, setting up the dramatic finish. After drawing a foul near the elbow with only three seconds left on the clock, Hannah Kaser sank both of her free-throw opportunities for the win.

The game featured 13 lead fluctuations altogether.

Elegado finished with 21 points and six assists, both game-high totals. She's now 33 assists back of No. 2 all-time at Cal Poly (390).

Junior guard Beth Balbierz added 13 points off the bench, including a 3-for-4 effort from downtown — part of a season-high nine 3-pointers for the team overall (out of 24). Ale also had 11 points.

The Mustangs will now start a week-long three-game road trip, beginning at New Mexico State at 6 p.m. PST Tuesday.