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Balbierz Leads Cal Poly to 63-57 Road Win Over Cal State Fullerton

Balbierz Leads Cal Poly to 63-57 Road Win Over Cal State Fullerton

FULLERTON, Calif. — Beth Balbierz sank five 3-pointers in the second quarter Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton, part of a career-high 22-point performance that led the Cal Poly women's basketball team to a 63-57 Big West Conference victory in Titan Gym.

A layup by sophomore guard Dynn Leaupepe put the Mustangs up 5-2 almost two minutes in, but CSF recovered early on for a 15-11 advantage after the first quarter, which Titan guard Jade Vega ended on a 15-foot buzzer-beater.

Four of Balbierz's second-quarter trifectas regained leads for Cal Poly: 20-19 with 6:54 to play until the break, 23-22 at the 5:48 mark, 26-25 at 5:06 and 29-28 at 4:20. Her sixth 3 of the half made it 32-28 with 2:03 remaining, en route to a 34-32 halftime lead.

Hannah Gilbert gave Cal Poly (12-13, 5-7) its largest lead of the evening, 38-32, on a lay-in a minute into the third quarter. The Titans (2-24, 0-12), though, rallied to go up 45-40 with three minutes left in the period, leading 47-43 at the start of the fourth.

A crucial 3-pointer by senior point guard Lisa Marie Sanchez cut the deficit to 55-52 with 3:11 remaining in regulation. On the ensuing possession, Balbierz blocked a last-ditch shot attempt, resulting in a Titan shot-clock violation, followed by another Gilbert bucket down low to close within 55-54.

Balbierz then put the Mustangs ahead one last time, 56-55, on a drive for a layup down the left side of the key with 1:20 to go, and then sank a pair of free throws with 39 seconds on the clock for a three-point lead.

CSF was held without a field goal for the final 5:50. As the Titans fouled late to stop the clock, Leaupepe came through at the line, sinking five free throws in the final 26 seconds to provide the final margin.

Leaupepe added 16 points and 11 boards for her sixth career double-double.

Balbierz, now averaging 19.7 points over her previous three games, finished 7-of-11 overall (including a 6-of-10 line from deep).

Gilbert finished with 20 points, going 10-for-15 while also posting five rebounds and two blocks.

The Mustangs, who had four players distribute at least three assists, had a duo of 20-point scorers for the second time this season.

Cal Poly will now travel to CSUN (6-19, 4-7) for a 4 p.m. Saturday tipoff, televised by ESPN3 from The Matadome.

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