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Cal Poly Finishes Non-Conference Play With 59-57 Home Win Over CSUB

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Playing at home for the first time in just over a month, the Cal Poly women's basketball team finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 59-57 win over future Big West rival CSU Bakersfield on Friday night in Mott Athletics Center.

Senior guard Dynn Leaupepe led Cal Poly with 25 points, including a career-best 4-for-5 performance from 3-point range.

Leaupepe, the Big West Player of the Week on Dec. 18 and the sixth-leading scorer in school history (now with 1,224 points), also added a 5-for-5 evening at the foul line after beginning the week No. 14 in the country among all active Division I players in career free-throw percentage (.820). 

The Mustangs closed the first quarter on a 7-2 run for a 15-10 lead, and pulled ahead 18-12 on a three-point play by Leaupepe a little more than a minute into the second quarter.

The Roadrunners stayed close before the break, however, tying the game 20-20 on a Dalis Jones layup at the 6:59 mark, on the way to a 29-29 halftime deadlock.

Back-to-back baskets on CSUB's opening two possessions of the second half gave the Roadrunners a 33-29 lead, but the Mustangs went on an 8-0 run (featuring a free throw by senior guard Kelly Wong, a jump shot by freshman guard Ayzhiana Basallo, a layup from senior center Nikki Fausey and a 3 by senior forward Emily Anderson) to move ahead 37-33 with 5:50 remaining in the period.

Bakersfield (6-7) rallied, though, as a 3 by Alexxus Gilbert brought the Roadrunners even again — the seventh tie of the night — at 37-all, 4:07 before the fourth.

A pair of free throws by Fausey put the Mustangs up for good (39-37) before a 43-39 lead at the end of the quarter. Cal Poly (6-6) then pulled away, leading by as many as 10 — at 58-48 — on two more Fausey free throws with 5:19 left.

CSUB closed the gap late, as a 3 from leading scorer Aja Williams with 2:23 left made it 58-55, before Williams converted a layup to cut the deficit to 58-57. Over the final minute-and-a-half, though, both teams missed two shots each, before junior center Devin Stanback corralled the rebound with three seconds remaining.

Stanback made the first of two free throws, and although CSUB gathered the rebound and called timeout with 1.4 seconds left, the Roadrunners turned the ball over on the following last-chance inbound opportunity.

It was Leaupepe's sixth consecutive game scoring in double-figures, and the 57th of her career.

Fausey finished with a career-high eight points, and Anderson also added eight, as the Mustangs took a 7-6 advantage in the all-time series vs. Bakersfield, which was recently announced to join the conference in the 2020-21 season.

Cal Poly will open Big West play at UC Riverside at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, before heading to UC Santa Barbara for a 2 p.m. tipoff Saturday, Jan. 6.

Photo © 2017 David E. Holmes