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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly continues Big West Conference play at home this week, as the Mustang women's basketball team will host UC Riverside at 7 p.m. Thursday, before returning to Mott Athletics Center for a 2 p.m. tipoff Saturday against Cal State Fullerton.
In a seldom-seen back-to-back scheduling twist, Thursday's game is a rematch of Feb. 16, when Jannon Otto and Malou De Kergret combined to score 52 points to lead UC Riverside to an 80-66 win.
Cal Poly (5-17, 2-9) led 13-7 a little more than six minutes into the first quarter at SRC Arena before the Highlanders rallied. The Mustangs start this week a game back of UC Santa Barbara (6-18, 3-8) for the eighth & final berth to the upcoming Big West Tournament. Otto, a junior guard, averages a team-best 15.6 points along with 6.5 rebounds to lead UCR (12-12, 6-4).
Marina Ewodo and Malou De Kergret add 11.2 and 11.0 points per game at the forward spots, while Daphne Gnago's 6.8 boards per game for Riverside are No. 6 in the conference. Feb. 21 vs. Riverside is also Faculty Appreciation Night, as professors will be honored at halftime, while all university instructors receive free admission for up to four.
Meanwhile Cal State Fullerton senior center Daeja Smith is second throughout the conference in rebounding, with 8.5 per game while averaging 13.0 points. Smith leads the Big West with a field-goal percentage of .526 (36th-best across the nation).
CSF (11-12, 3-7) outscored the Mustangs 25-15 in a pivotal third quarter on Jan. 19 to earn a 78-64 win in Orange County, erasing a 33-31 early second-half Cal Poly lead.
Titan sophomore guard Raina Perez also scores 12.5 points per game, in addition to distributing 5.1 assists (ranking 39th in the country) on average. The first 500 fans to Mott vs. Fullerton on Feb. 23 receive special-edition Living the Dream Cal Poly shirts honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream and celebrating Black History Month, while the Cal Poly Cross Cultural Center will host a pregame reception in the Stampede Club Tent.
STAHLEY RISING IN THE RECORD BOOK: Cal Poly point guard Dye Stahley now ranks among the top 20 in program history for two career categories.
Stahley, a senior from Mesa, Arizona, has moved to No. 7 in school history for all-time assists, with 322 — six back of Jody Hasselfield (1987-90) for the No. 6 spot. Additionally, Stahley ranks 16th at Cal Poly in career steals, with 148, one shy of Hasselfield for No. 15.
Stahley scored 17 points spanning a six-minute, nine-second stretch late in the fourth quarter and into overtime on Feb. 6, leading the Mustangs to a 66-59 comeback victory over Long Beach State thanks to her career-high 23-point effort, which helped erase a 53-48 deficit with 27 seconds left in regulation.
For the season, Stahley begins the week second in the conference in steals per game (2.3) and No. 1 in assists (5.3 — ranking 34th nationally). The Big West Best Hustle Award recipient as a junior and Cal Poly's Coca-Cola Student-Athlete of the Week on Jan. 14 and Feb. 11, Stahley's average of 36.2 minutes played per game in 2018-19 ranks No. 1 in the conference and 51st throughout the country.
STANBACK NO. 12 IN THE BIG WEST IN SCORING: Mustang senior center Devin Stanback comes into this week 12th in the Big West in scoring, averaging 11.0 points.
Additionally, her field-goal percentage of .508 (third throughout the conference) ranks 64th nationally. Stanback joined Stahley on the All-Tournament Team for the ShareSLO Holiday Beach Classic on Nov. 24.
VESELA MAKES IMPACT: Since making her Cal Poly debut in the 60-50 win at Seattle U on Dec. 17, junior forward Hana Vesela is averaging 10.8 points, second on the squad.
Vesela, who played for the Czech Republic U-20 program at the 2016 FIBA European Championship, joined the Mustangs in a practice capacity last February as a mid-year transfer from Michigan State. The 6-foot-4 native of Pribor, Czech Republic is shooting .320 from 3-point range since conference play began.
NUNNELLEY, ROUFOSSE ALSO AMONG CONFERENCE LEADERS: Averaging 5.7 rebounds, Cal Poly senior forward Katie Nunnelley opens the week 10th in the conference. Nunnelley corralled 17 rebounds at Sacramento State on Nov. 11. The most by a Mustang since Hannah Gilbert secured 18 at UC Irvine on Jan. 9, 2016, Nunnelley's effort was seven boards back of the single-game school record (24 by Sherrie Atteberry in 1987). At .795 (via 31-for-39), Nunnelley also ranks fifth in the Big West in free-throw percentage for 2018-19.
Junior forward Alicia Roufosse, meanwhile, also ranks among the Big West leaders in two categories, starting this week 10th throughout the conference in field-goal percentage (.459) and 12th in rebounding (5.3).
FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: Mustang tickets are available at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk window at the on-campus Performing Arts Center from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Families are encouraged to sign up for the Mustang Kids Club ($10 per child 8th grade or under), as over $300 in benefits include ongoing free admission to all 2018-19 regular-season soccer, volleyball, wrestling & women's basketball events along with select football, men's basketball and baseball games; plus invitations to exclusive events; opportunities to be an honorary captain at Mustang home games; a birthday card from Musty; free gelato at SLO Sweets every month (along with birthday scavenger hunts) and a T-Shirt. Cal Poly students always get into games for free, and are also invited to join the Stang Gang. Stang Gang, Cal Poly's student fan group, features several rewards for a $10 one-time lifetime registration fee, including prizes from sponsors such as Adidas, Amazon, SLO Sweets, Woodstock's Pizza, Eureka! Burger, Splash Café and Frank's Famous Hot Dogs, a member T-Shirt, and more upon reaching point levels by checking in at games.
Additionally, March 2 (Saturday/2 p.m.) vs. CSUN will also be a Poly Play Day, as kids are invited to an annual pregame carnival at 1 p.m. in the Stampede Club Tent, followed by free admission for youth (13-and-under) at the Senior Day home finale.
Links to follow Mustang game broadcasts live throughout the season can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.
Photos © Owen Main / Nathan Nybakke
Cal Poly to Host UCR at 7 p.m. Thursday, CSF at 2 p.m. Saturday
COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (PDF)