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Cal Poly Picks Up 66-57 Win Over Montana State to Finish Tournament

Cal Poly Picks Up 66-57 Win Over Montana State to Finish Tournament

Mustangs Outscore Bobcats 16-4 in Paint, Play to 14-6 Advantage in Second-Chance Points After Halftime

Sanchez, Balbierz Combine for 31 Points; Lovely Grabs Career-High 12 Rebounds

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball team promptly rallied from a 28-20 halftime deficit to defeat Montana State 66-57 Saturday evening in Mott Athletics Center, closing the ninth annual ShareSLO Holiday Tournament with a win.

The Mustangs got out of the gate quickly, taking a 10-4 lead four minutes into the opening quarter, but the Bobcats fought back to end the period tied at 16, and then took a 25-18 lead with 6:07 remaining until the break.

A 3-pointer by Peyton Ferris two minutes before intermission gave them the eight-point advantage at the half.

Within the first 1:19 after returning to the court, however, Cal Poly scored the second half's initial six points — on a string of baskets from junior forward Hannah Gilbert, senior guard Beth Balbierz and sophomore wing Dynn Leaupepe.

The Mustangs then tied it at 33-all on a 3 from senior point guard Lisa Marie Sanchez at the 6:52 mark of the third quarter before regaining the lead at 35-33 on a Gilbert layup (part of a 10-2 points-in-the-paint disparity for the period alone).

A pair of free throws from freshman guard Dye Stahley put Cal Poly up 41-35 with 2:26 to go to the fourth quarter.

Cal Poly then took a 53-44 lead on another 3 by Sanchez with 5:20 left in regulation, before Balbierz sank a bomb of her own with 1:24 on the clock for the largest lead of the night while effectually putting the game out of reach at 60-50.

Altogether during the second half, the Mustangs outscored MSU 16-4 in the paint and held a 14-6 margin in second-chance points.

Balbierz finished with a team-leading 16 points (thanks in part to a 5-for-5 performance at the free-throw line), while Sanchez added 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals in her third 40-minute effort of the year.

Gilbert nearly had her fourth double-double of the season already, with nine points and 11 boards, while junior forward Amanda Lovely set her new career high on the glass, securing 12 rebounds.

Cal Poly (3-3) will next visit Pepperdine (1-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Photos © David E. Holmes and Ray Ambler