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Saint Mary's Holds Off Fourth-Quarter Cal Poly Rally for 79-71 Road Win

Saint Mary's Holds Off Fourth-Quarter Cal Poly Rally for 79-71 Road Win

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Four Mustangs scored in double-figures Thursday night, helping the Cal Poly women's basketball team pull within five points in the fourth quarter, but Saint Mary's held on late for a 79-71 road win at Mott Athletics Center.

Cal Poly junior guard Dynn Leaupepe scored a game-high (and season-best) 24 points and distributed seven assists, along with claiming a career-high six steals.

Fellow junior wing Emily Anderson went 4-for-9 from 3-point range on the way to a career-high 12 points. Meanwhile senior forward Hannah Gilbert added 14 points and five rebounds, and junior guard Lynn Leaupepe also had 11 points and six boards.

The Mustangs jumped out to a quick start, as a Dynn Leaupepe jumper, a Lynn Leaupepe drive and then another basket by Dynn on a layup provided Cal Poly a 6-0 lead a minute and 47 seconds into the game.

The Gaels answered with a 9-0 run, though, over the next 1:44, on the way to a 22-12 advantage at the quarter break.

Cal Poly narrowed the deficit through the second quarter, as a jumper by junior guard Gabby Grupalo brought the Mustangs within 22-19 with 8:31 to play until halftime. Saint Mary's led 37-31 at the half, with a 12-0 disparity in free throw attempts at intermission.

Saint Mary's took its largest lead of the game with 9:05 left on a three-point play from Devon Brookshire. The Mustangs battled back, however, going on a 15-3 over the ensuing eight-and-a-half minutes.

Lynn Leaupepe started the comeback by drawing a foul and converting a pair of free throws. Closing the run, senior forward Amanda Lovely sank a jump shot to make it 73-68 with 35 seconds to go, but the Gaels went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch to ice it.

SMC junior forward Stella Beck, a New Zealand National Team member, led the Gaels (3-4) 17 points.

Cal Poly (3-4), which entered the week No. 1 in the Big West Conference and No. 43 nationally in free-throw percentage (at .759), made 12 of its 13 free-throw attempts on the evening.

The Mustangs will conclude their four-game homestand by hosting Pepperdine at 4 p.m. Saturday. Saturday's game vs. the Waves is also Kristina Santiago Night, as Cal Poly will welcome back its all-time leading scorer and rebounder to retire her No. 12 jersey prior to tipoff.

Photo by Ray Ambler