SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball team won its sixth straight home game Thursday night, edging CSUN for a 66-62 overtime Big West Conference victory in Mott Athletics Center after senior guard Beth Balbierz sank a game-tying 3-pointer with only 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Mustangs (10-7, 3-1) led 15-13 after the opening quarter, and then midway through the second used a 5-0 run to take the largest lead all evening: 27-17 with 2:14 left until halftime.
Although the Matadors (2-16, 0-4) quickly closed the gap to 28-22, Cal Poly owned a 16-8 points-in-the-paint advantage by intermission (en route to 32-20 for the game).
CSUN continued to battle back, pulling even at 30-30 on a jumper from Serafina Maulupe with 6:55 to play in the third, and then tying it at three more junctures before heading to the fourth down only 41-38.
A mid-range shot by junior forward Amanda Lovely with 5:44 remaining in the fourth put Cal Poly up 52-44, but the Matadors again wouldn't go away, going on a 14-3 run for a 58-55 lead with seven seconds left.
Then coming out of a timeout, Balbierz broke free for some separation on the right side, stepping behind the arc and taking Lisa Marie Sanchez's baseline inbounds pass before letting loose the 3 that would force OT at 58-all.
The Mustangs scored the first four points of the extra frame on back-to-back buckets by junior forward Hannah Gilbert, going up 62-58 at the 2:06 mark. Afterwards, CSUN twice brought itself to within two, but could get no closer the rest of the way.
Gilbert finished with a career-high 24 points to go with her seven rebounds.
Sophomore Lynn Leaupepe added 15 points and nine boards, while Balbierz also was in double-figures, with 12 points.
Junior forward Rachel Koehler also grabbed a game-high (and season-best) 10 rebounds in the victory.
Cal Poly, which began the afternoon ranked No. 36 in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (holding opponents to .356 shooting) and No. 43 in forced turnovers (at 19.4 per game), limited the Matadors to a 21-for-73 night (.288) while claiming 19 turnovers.
The Mustangs will close their three-game home stand by hosting UC Davis (10-6, 3-0) at 4 p.m. Saturday. Fans in eighth grade and younger will have free admission to the game vs. the Aggies, as it's also YouJam, Adopt a Classroom and Girl Scouts Day.
Photos © 2016 by Alexander Bohlen and David E. Holmes