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Cal Poly Rally Comes Up Just Short Against First-Place Long Beach State

Cal Poly Rally Comes Up Just Short Against First-Place Long Beach State

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball team cut a 13-point Long Beach State lead to five in the second half on Thursday night, but the 49ers held on late to move to 16-1 overall on the season with an 85-74 win in Mott Athletics Center.

Long Beach State asserted itself midway through the opening half, getting out to a 29-18 lead nine minutes before the break, ultimately going to the locker room ahead 41-30.

The 49ers still were up 73-62 with 2:18 to play before Cal Poly went on a sudden 6-0 run (thanks to a 3-pointer by senior guard Ariana Elegado followed by a layup plus the free throw on a foul by freshman forward Dynn Leaupepe) to cut the deficit to 73-68 with 1:59 remaining.

But Long Beach State, now alone in first in the Big West Conference at 3-0, responded with three straight free throws in the ensuing 13 seconds to stem the tide, keeping alive their best start to a season since their 1986-87 Final Four squad opened 20-1. Hallie Meneses led the 49ers with 26 points.

Leaupepe finished with a season-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, going 10 of 21 from the floor and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line.

Sophomore center Hannah Gilbert joined Elegado in adding 14 points, while Lynn Leaupepe had five steals.

Elegado, the reigning conference player of the week, made two shares of history on the night.

Her assist to Gilbert under the hoop 5:40 into the game was the 391st of her career, passing 1982 All-American Laura Buehning to move into second place on the school's all-time list. (Former teammate Jonae Ervin, who broke the record last season, finished with a total of 467.)

Elegado also finished 4 of 11 from downtown, upping her career 3-pointer total to 213, thus moving past Gwynn Hobbs (UNLV, 1991-95) for ninth in the 28-year history of the shot in the Big West.

Cal Poly will stay home to take on defending conference champion CSUN (12-5, 2-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday for #BreakTheRecord Night.

The Mustangs will try to shatter the program's single-game attendance record of 2,552. Eighth-graders and younger will get in for free to the game, and carnival games outside will also be provided for free at 3 p.m.