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Otto, De Kergret Lead UC Riverside to 80-66 Win Against Cal Poly

Otto, De Kergret Lead UC Riverside to 80-66 Win Against Cal Poly

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UC Riverside's Jannon Otto and Malou De Kergret combined to score 52 points Saturday night against Cal Poly, lifting the Highlander women's basketball team to an 80-66 Big West win at SRC Arena.

Otto, a two-time conference player of the week this season, went 8-for-15 from the floor (all inside the arc) and 14-of-15 from the free-throw line for a 30-point performance, also securing seven rebounds during a 40-minute effort. De Kergret, meanwhile, shot 6-for-16 overall (including 2-for-5 from 3-point territory) along with 8-of-13 from the foul line en route to 22 points.

Mustang senior center Devin Stanback made all four of her shots (including a 3) and added a 6-for-7 evening at the free-throw line for a team-high 15 points.

Almost three minutes into the game, junior forward Alicia Roufosse sank a jumper to provide the Mustangs a 9-4 lead, before senior forward Katie Nunnelley converted a layup to stretch Cal Poly's advantage to 13-7 with 3:44 to play in the quarter. UC Riverside (12-12, 6-4), however, would rally to close the initial period down just 15-13, then pulling even at 15-all on an Otto layup on the first possession of the second quarter.

The Highlanders moved in front at the 4:00 mark of the period, 27-26, thanks to a jumper via Keilanei Cooper, on the way to taking a 33-31 lead into the break after Otto fed Daphne Gnago for a layup 1:07 before halftime.

UCR took control in the third, winning the quarter 24-14, beginning with a 3 from Marina Ewodo for the half's first points. Cal Poly freshman guard Maddie Willett knocked down a 3 with 8:39 remaining in the third to bring the Mustangs within 37-34, but the Highlanders responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a pair of Otto free throws pushing the gap to 44-34.

De Kergret hit a jumper 1:38 before the fourth to provide UCR a 55-40 lead. From there, Cal Poly (5-17, 2-9) would cut the deficit to a nine-point margin at four ensuing moments in the final period: 59-50, 61-52, 63-54, and lastly 68-59 on another Willett 3 with 1:33 on the clock, but in each instance, the Highlanders didn't allow the Mustangs any closer.

Over the final 1:19 of regulation with Cal Poly fouling to stop the clock, UCR made 10 of 12 free throws, finishing with a 26-for-34 evening at the line altogether.

Roufosse finished with 14 points, shooting 7-for-13 overall, and senior point guard Dye Stahley distributed a game-high eight assists for Cal Poly.

The Mustangs, a game back of UCSB for the eighth & final berth to the upcoming Big West Tournament, will return home for a two-game homestand in the week ahead. Cal Poly will first host UCR, in a rematch (through a rare back-to-back scheduling scenario) at 7 p.m. Thursday, before returning to Mott Athletics Center to take on Cal State Fullerton at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.

File Photo © David E. Holmes