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Grupalo, Gilbert Lead Cal Poly to 72-54 Road Win Over UC Irvine

Grupalo, Gilbert Lead Cal Poly to 72-54 Road Win Over UC Irvine

IRVINE, Calif. — Gabby Grupalo shattered her career high with 25 points while Hannah Gilbert secured a career-best 18 rebounds, leading the Cal Poly women's basketball team to a 72-54 Big West Conference road win over UC Irvine at Bren Events Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Anteaters jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the opening 4:38, but the Mustangs quickly responded with a 20-6 run over the ensuing nine-and-a-half minutes to take a 22-18 advantage with 5:56 remaining until halftime.

A layup from freshman guard Dye Stahley just two seconds before the end of the second quarter sent the Mustangs (8-7, 1-1) to the break up 33-32.

Grupalo ignited a second-half surge, sinking a 3-pointer to make it 43-38 with 6:05 left in the third.

Then Beth Balbierz hit another 3 at the 1:58 mark, before she and fellow senior guard Lisa Marie Sanchez added three straight free throws to cap an 11-0 run to close the period with a 54-42 lead.

Grupalo, a sophomore shooting guard from Walnut Creek, finished 8-for-16 overall in her 31 minutes off the bench, including a 3-for-9 performance from 3-point range, as well as a 6-for-7 contribution from the foul line. She also had five boards.

Grupalo's previous career highs were five points in 16 minutes (each during the 97-72 win over Sacramento State a week-and-a-half ago).

Gilbert also had 11 points and two blocks. It was the sixth double-double of the season for the junior forward, and the ninth of her career.

Gilbert's season average now stands at 9.9 rebounds per game, leading the Big West.

Balbierz also added 11 points, while Sanchez finished with 10.

It was the fifth time this year Cal Poly has had four players produce double-figure efforts offensively, and Grupalo became the sixth different player to lead the squad in scoring on a given night.

Raelyn Cheung-Sutton led UCI (3-13, 0-2) with 14 points and a game-high five assists.

The Mustangs will return home to face Cal State Fullerton (2-12, 0-0) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

It will also be Heroes and Senior Citizens Day in Mott Athletics Center, as all active or retired military personnel, fire fighters and police officers get in for free on Jan. 16, as do all seniors with identification.

All photos © 2016 David E. Holmes • (For more photos of the team in action, click here.)