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Long Beach State Rallies to Edge Cal Poly 61-56

Long Beach State Rallies to Edge Cal Poly 61-56

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball team held a 50-40 lead over Long Beach State with just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, but the 49ers rallied late to earn a 61-56 Big West Conference win at Mott Athletics Center.

The Mustangs jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first four minutes, and a 3-pointer from senior point guard Lisa Marie Sanchez provided an 11-5 lead with 3:16 left in the opening quarter.

Cal Poly shot 7-for-14 and had a 12-4 rebounding advantage on the way to an 18-13 lead after the first. The two teams then traded baskets during a 10-9 second quarter en route to a 27-23 Mustang halftime lead.

Dynn Leaupepe had 13 first-half points for Cal Poly, which saw eight players grab rebounds before the break (combining for a 22-16 edge on the boards).

Long Beach State (20-7, 9-4), which was held to an 8-for-30 first half, gave up a 3 to senior guard Beth Balbierz and a layup to junior forward Hannah Gilbert off a turnover in the initial 38 seconds of the third quarter, prompting a timeout as the gap grew to 32-23.

The 49ers battled back, however, closing within 32-30 with 7:32 left in the third. Cal Poly finished the quarter strong, as back-to-back layups from Gilbert and Balbierz made it 46-40 to start the fourth.

Two more baskets by Gilbert pushed the Cal Poly lead to 50-40 — the largest all evening — with 8:12 remaining. Long Beach State quickly responded, using a 10-0 run capped by a Gigi Hascheff 3-pointer to tie the game at the 5:38 mark.

Lynn Leaupepe scored on a drive to put the Mustangs back in front, 52-50, but Hascheff answered with a jumper on the next possession to even it up once more.

A Raven Benton free throw, followed by an Anna Kim 3, put Long Beach State ahead 56-52 with 3:18 to play. Neither team scored for the ensuing 2:41, at which point Gilbert converted the first of two free throws to cut the deficit to 56-53. With under 40 seconds left, though, the Mustangs (13-14, 6-8) were forced to foul to stop the clock.

The 49ers sank five of their six opportunities from the line in the final 22 seconds to hold on.

Dynn Leaupepe finished with a game-high 18 points, while Balbierz added 14 and Gilbert 13. Sanchez distributed seven assists for Cal Poly, which went 10-for-11 from the free-throw line and outrebounded the 49ers 41-32.

The Mustangs will conclude their home schedule by hosting UC Santa Barbara (10-17, 7-6) for the Blue-Green Rivalry and Senior Day at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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