SEATTLE — Making her Cal Poly debut Monday morning, junior forward Hana Vesela scored a team-high 17 points against Seattle U, leading the Mustang women's basketball squad to a 60-50 win in the Redhawk Center.
Vesela, who played for the Czech Republic U-20 program at the 2016 FIBA European Championship, joined the Mustangs in a practice capacity this past February as a mid-year transfer from Michigan State.
The 6-foot-4 native of Pribor, Czech Republic shot 7-for-19 overall in her first appearance as a Mustang, including 1-for-5 from 3-point range, and grabbed seven rebounds in her 28 minutes.
Cal Poly jumped out to a nine-point lead midway through the opening quarter, as a Vesela 3-pointer put the Mustangs ahead 13-4 almost seven minutes from tipoff. The Redhawks (0-11) scored the last five points of the period, however, to head to the second quarter down 13-9.
Seattle U carried its momentum into the second, tying the game at 22-all on a pair of free throws by Kamira Sanders, MVP of the 2018 WAC Tournament, before moving in front just over two minutes before halftime, 24-22 on a layup from Joana Alves. Madeline Dopplick sank a 3 to provide SU its largest lead of the afternoon, 27-22, with 1:33 remaining until the break, but senior forward Katie Nunnelley converted a layup followed by a Vesela jumper, bringing the Mustangs within 27-26 at intermission.
The Mustangs (3-7) took back the lead early in the third quarter, as Maddie Willett knocked down a 3 two minutes after the teams returned to the floor, followed by a fast-break layup by senior point guard Dye Stahley to make it 31-30 at the 7:27 mark.
Defensively, Cal Poly limited Seattle to six points in the third, the Mustangs' fewest points allowed in any quarter all year.
After a put-back by Gianna Silvestri to beat the third-quarter buzzer sent Cal Poly to the fourth up 39-33, the Mustangs stretched the lead to eight with 5:17 to play when Vesela made a layup-plus-the-foul and then added the free throw for a 46-38 advantage. Vesela struck again with 2:51 left in regulation, hitting another jumper to hand Cal Poly the largest lead of the day for either team, 50-40.
Dopplick sank another 3 with 47 seconds on the clock to cut the deficit to 55-50, but Seattle U drew no closer from there, as Vesela, Stahley and Willett combined to tack on five free throws over the last 45 seconds of the game to provide the final margin.
Dopplick scored a game-high 18 points, with all five of her field goals (5-for-11 from deep) coming from behind the arc.
Stahley finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals in a 40-minute effort, while Willett and junior forward Alicia Roufosse added 10 points each, and senior center Devin Stanback corralled seven boards, tying for the team high.
Cal Poly will have an 11-day hiatus from game action over the holiday break, before concluding non-conference play on the road, visiting UCLA on Friday, Dec. 28 at 5 p.m.
File Photo © David E. Holmes