COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (PDF)
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly continues Big West Conference play on the road and then at home this week, as the Mustang women's basketball team will visit UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. Wednesday in The Thunderdome, before returning to Mott Athletics Center at 2 p.m. Saturday to host CSUN for Senior Day.
The Mustangs and Gauchos start the week tied in the Big West standings, each at 3-10 for a share of eighth place. Cal Poly won the first Blue-Green Rivalry matchup of the season on Jan. 12 — 75-67 in San Luis Obispo — led by a 16-point performance by Dye Stahley and a 15-point effort from Maddie Willett.
The first round (featuring seeds 5-8) and quarterfinals (adding the No. 3 and 4 seeds) of the 36th annual Big West Tournament will be held from March 12-13 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, before the semifinals and championship game move to the Honda Center in Anaheim for March 15-16. Heading into the final two weeks of the regular season, five of the eight berths have been taken (seeding still to be determined), with three spots still up for grabs.
Coco Miller leads UCSB with 12.7 points per game, seventh in the Big West. The redshirt junior guard is second in the conference in 3-pointers made for the year (50), as well as fourth in steals per game (1.8).
Natalia Bruening, a 6-foot-4 junior center, adds 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Gauchos (6-20). A broadcast of the Feb. 27 game will be available through BigWestTV from Isla Vista.
Second-place CSUN (14-12, 8-4) — the defending Big West Tournament champion — is led by senior center Channon Fluker, averaging 16.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks (leading the entire country, keying Northridge's No. 18 national ranking in field-goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to 35.5-percent shooting).
March 2 will also be a Poly Play Day, as kids are invited to an annual pregame carnival at 12:30 p.m. in the Stampede Club Tent outside Mott, followed by free admission for youth (13-and-under). There will also be a prize raffle, with proceeds benefitting Jack's Helping Hand, with the grand-prize winner announced at halftime.
Matador teammate Serafina Maulupe, a senior guard (as well as also a Preseason All-Conference Team selection), adds 8.7 points per game. CSUN won the Feb. 14 matchup between the two in Northridge, 68-52. Cal Poly (6-18) is coming off a 69-58 win against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 23.
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. 6 in school history for all-time assists, with 334 — 39 back of Sparkle Anderson (2003-08) for the No. 5 spot. Additionally, Stahley ranks 13th at Cal Poly in career steals, with 156, five shy of Susanne Carey (1991-95) for No. 12.
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 leading the conference in both steals per game (2.5) and assists (5.4 — ranking 28th 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 37.3 minutes played per game in 2018-19 ranks No. 1 in the conference and 15th 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 11.1 points.
Additionally, her field-goal percentage of .517 (second throughout the conference) ranks 53rd 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 11.6 points, tops on the squad overall (also ranking 12th specific to conference play, at 11.5 points per game in Big West action).
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 .446 in conference play.
NUNNELLEY, ROUFOSSE ALSO AMONG CONFERENCE LEADERS: Averaging 5.6 rebounds, Cal Poly senior forward Katie Nunnelley opens the week 11th 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).
Junior forward Alicia Roufosse, meanwhile, also ranks among the Big West leaders in two categories, starting this week 11th throughout the conference in field-goal percentage (via .455) and 12th in rebounding (5.4 per game).
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. 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 Visit UCSB on Wednesday, Host CSUN on Saturday
COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (PDF)