SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly rallied in the fourth quarter Saturday night to cut Pepperdine's 15-point lead to a seven-point gap with just over two minutes remaining, but the Wave women's basketball team held on to earn a 70-63 victory over the Mustangs in Mott Athletics Center, winning the ShareSLO Holiday Beach Classic title.
Pepperdine (3-0) also defeated Sacramento State 113-97 Friday night, finishing the 12th annual tournament 2-0 for the crown. (Illinois had topped Cal Poly 74-51 on Day 1, but Sacramento State won a 109-107 shootout with Illinois earlier Saturday, earning a split for both the Fighting Illini and Hornets.)
Pepperdine had four players score in double-figures, led by senior guard Paige Fecske's 16 points, while Wave senior forward Yasmine Robinson-Bacote added 12.
Neither team led by more than two points for almost the initial five minutes Saturday, until Rose Pflug hit a 3-pointer to put Pepperdine up 10-6 4:52 into the first quarter. Mustang senior center Devin Stanback sank a 3 on Cal Poly's last possession of the period to close the quarter trailing 20-16.
A jumper from Fecske provided Pepperdine its largest lead of the first half, 36-27, with 4:53 to play to halftime, en route to a 40-33 advantage for the Waves at the break, as Robinson-Bacote (a back-to-back All-WCC first-team selection) drove for a layup right before the horn.
In the third quarter, the Mustangs (1-6) pulled within four points on two occasions: by a 43-39 margin on a Stanback bucket 3:14 after the teams returned to the floor and then another Stanback layup making it 45-41 on Cal Poly's ensuing possession. The Waves, however, added a 3 by Deezha Battle with 33 seconds left in the period to finish the third ahead 57-48.
Midway through the fourth quarter, neither team scored over a stretch of four minutes & eight seconds, until Fecske knocked down a 3 with 3:42 remaining in the game, establishing the largest lead at 65-50.
The Mustangs went on a quick 8-0 run spanning the next 1:38 — consisting of back-to-back 3-pointers via freshman guard Alli Hallberg and then a pair of free throws from sophomore forward Kirsty Brown — narrowing the gap to 65-58 with 2:04 remaining.
Pepperdine answered with a jumper from Barbara Sitanggan, though, its next trip up the floor, stretching the lead back to nine. Cal Poly missed its next three shots, along with two free-throw opportunities, as the Waves carried their nine-point cushion into the closing moments. One more 3 from Hallberg brought Cal Poly as close as six points back, trailing 68-62, but with only 10 seconds remaining, Fecske made back-to-back free throws to effectively close the game out.
Stanback led Cal Poly with 17 points on 5-for-7 overall shooting (6-for-6 at the foul line), while Hallberg added a season-high 16 points on a 5-for-10 performance from behind the arc.
Brown added 11 points and two blocks in the loss, while senior point guard Dye Stahley almost recorded a triple-double, finishing with nine points, a career-high nine rebounds and eight assists.
Cal Poly wraps a four-game homestand in the week ahead, hosting Eastern Washington at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 and Saint Mary's at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
Photo © Owen Main