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Third-Quarter Stretch Carries CSF to 78-64 Win Over Visiting Cal Poly

Third-Quarter Stretch Carries CSF to 78-64 Win Over Visiting Cal Poly

FULLERTON, Calif. — Cal Poly played Cal State Fullerton to a 31-31 tie at halftime Saturday night, but the Titan women's basketball team outscored the visiting Mustangs 25-15 in a pivotal third quarter, en route to earning a 78-64 Big West Conference home win.

Although Fullerton jumped out to a quick start in Titan Gym, leading 8-2 after a Jade Vega layup 2:40 into the game, the Mustangs closed the opening quarter on a 6-0 run, as a 3-pointer by freshman guard Alli Hallberg seven seconds before the horn put Cal Poly up 18-16.

Similar to the first period, the second quarter also saw Fullerton take a six-point lead before Cal Poly used a late spurt to close the deficit. Hannah Thompson sank a 3 with 1:54 remaining to intermission to extend the Titan advantage to 31-25, but the Mustangs would answer with another 6-0 run. Junior forward Alicia Roufosse converted a layup opportunity 1:38 before the break and added a jumper 18 seconds later, prior to senior point guard Dye Stahley delivering a teardrop in the lane to beat the buzzer, sending the squads to halftime even at 31 apiece.

Senior forward Katie Nunnelley made a pair of free throws 42 seconds after the teams returned to the court, putting Cal Poly (4-11, 1-3) ahead 33-31. Cal State Fullerton (10-6, 2-1), however, responded with seven consecutive points, parlaying the run into a 38-33 lead it wouldn't relinquish. 

Preseason All-Conference center Daeja Smith stretched the lead to 10 on a layup with 4:49 to play in the third, before sophomore guard Raina Perez hit a jumper to place the margin at 12 — 49-37 at the 4:11 mark.

After beginning the fourth quarter trailing 56-46, Cal Poly pulled within a nine-point gap on three occasions: 58-49 via a 3 by senior center Devin Stanback with 8:30 remaining, 60-51 on a layup from sophomore wing Hannah Peterson with 6:56 left, and 62-53 (5:07) thanks to a jump shot via junior forward Hana Vesela. In each instance, though, CSF didn't allow the gap to narrow any closer, pulling away with a 3 by Perez which stretched the lead to 69-53 with 3:37 to play.

Roufosse paced Cal Poly with 12 points and six rebounds, shooting 6-for-10 from the floor in 18 minutes off the bench, while Nunnelley established a new career-high with six assists.

Smith finished with 19 points on an 8-for-10 evening, along with 10 boards to lead CSF, which reached 10 wins through the first 16 games of a season for the first time since 1990-91.

The Mustangs return home to host Hawai'i at 7 p.m. Thursday. Jan. 24 is also Greek Night in Mott Athletics Center, with the first 200 fraternity or sorority members at the game wearing their Greek letters receiving a Cal Poly shirt.

File Photo © David E. Holmes