BATON ROUGE, La – Junior Molly Schlemer scored 24 points while fellow junior Jonae Ervin added 10, but it would not be enough as the regular season Big-10 Champions, Penn State, pulled away for an 85-55 win over the Cal Poly women's basketball team in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Championship in Baton Rouge on Sunday. For Cal Poly it was the first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament for the women's program.
With the loss the Mustangs conclude the season with a 21-11 overall record while Penn State improves to 26-5. The 21 wins for Cal Poly matches the programs high set during the 2008-09 season.
Schlemer's points came when she hit 11 of 19 shots from the floor and both attempts at the line. The 2012-13 Big West Conference Player of the Year was five of 10 from the field in the first half.
Ervin was the only other Mustang in double figures with 10 points when she made two of 10 from the field, but made all six attempts at the line.
Senior Caroline Reeves added seven points while Kristen Ale came off the bench to score six.
Penn State had four players score in double figures led by Big 10 Player of the Year, Maggie Lucas, with 19 points when she made eight of 16 shots from the floor.
PSU shot 47 percent from the floor and made 13 of 18 from the line while the Mustangs shot 28 percent from the floor, making 19 of 68 field goals. Cal Poly hit just two of 12 from long range.
PSU held a 52-40 advantage in rebounds while each team turned the ball over 13 times. PSU managed seven blocks.
In the first half the Mustangs pushed PSU with the score tied six times in the half and seven lead changes. Cal Poly opened the scoring on the team's first possession when Schlemer picked had a put back after gathering a rebound just 15 seconds into the game.
Schlemer went on to score the first 10 points of the game for the Mustangs and held a 10-8 lead at 12:31. Ale converted three free throws to put Cal Poly up three points (13-10) at 11:54 and matched the lead when Schlemer made a layup at 9:29.
Cal Poly held its last lead of the game with 7:45 left in the half when Ale converted a pair of free throws for a one point lead (17-16).
PSU then went on an 11-0 over the next two and a half minutes to open up a 27-17 lead, but the Mustangs fought back to cut the lead to five (29-24) on a three by Ariana
Elegado and a pair of free throws by Nikol Allison with 3:21 on the clock. PSU closed the half on a 9-4 run and settled for a 38-28 lead at the break.
PSU opened the second half with six quick points to open a 44-28 lead with the Mustangs staying in touch on a bucket by Reeves and a layup by Schlemer (48-36) five minutes into the half.
PSU used a 20-3 run to open up a 12 point game and held a 68-39 lead with 8:32 left in the game. PSU kept the pressure on and pulled away for the 85-35 win.
In the closing minutes of play, head coach Faith Mimnaugh used her timeouts to get Kayla Griffin and Brittney Woodard into the game for a few seconds to conclude their careers at Cal Poly in a NCAA Tournament game.