Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Santa Clara Holds on to Edge Cal Poly 69-63 in Tournament Opener

Santa Clara Holds on to Edge Cal Poly 69-63 in Tournament Opener

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball team had a season-most 10 players score while getting a season-high 23 points off the bench Friday evening, but Santa Clara withstood a Mustang comeback bid in Mott Athletics Center to open the ShareSLO Holiday Tournament with a 69-63 win.

The Broncos (3-2), coming off a 61-58 road victory over No. 10 Stanford on Monday night, took an 18-6 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

But the Mustangs steadily chipped away, beginning with a 3-pointer from junior forward Sarah Lipton and a layup and a free throw by senior guard Beth Balbierz to close the opening quarter down 20-12.

After going to halftime down 35-27, Cal Poly brought itself to just one point down, 37-36, on a basket by sophomore wing Dynn Leaupepe, finishing a 14-2 run.

The Broncos got back on track, though, to finish the third quarter up 50-40.

Early on in the fourth, the Mustangs twice pulled within six, at 55-49 on a jumper by junior forward Hannah Gilbert with 6:10 to play, and then 57-51 on a pair of free throws from Leaupepe at the 5:07 mark, but SCU didn't allow it to get any closer the rest of the way, making amends for a 79-73 Cal Poly win in the Bay Area a year ago.

Balbierz finished with 16 points, while Leaupepe made all six of her free throws on the way to 12 points.

Gilbert added her third double-double of the season already, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Senior point guard Lisa Marie Sanchez also had a career-best five steals.

Morgan McGwire, a sophomore forward, led the Broncos with 21 points.

The ninth annual tournament will continue Saturday, first with Santa Clara returning to the floor to face Evansville at 3 p.m., before the Mustangs (2-3) host Montana State (4-1) in the nightcap at 5 p.m. Admission is free to both games.

Photos by David E. Holmes