Defense Leads Cal Poly to 50-38 Big West Home Win Over UC Irvine

Defense Leads Cal Poly to 50-38 Big West Home Win Over UC Irvine

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball team allowed its fewest points in three years Saturday evening, earning a 50-38 Big West Conference win over UC Irvine at Mott Athletics Center. It was the first time the Mustangs have held an opponent under 40 since March 7, 2013, when they beat the Anteaters 76-36.

After a back-and-forth first quarter ended tied at 13, Cal Poly (11-11, 4-5) scored the first seven points of the second period, as a Beth Balbierz layup, a trio of Lynn Leaupepe free throws and a basket from her sister Dynn Leaupepe provided a 20-13 lead 5:37 before halftime.

The Anteaters (4-19, 1-8) closed within 20-19 shortly thereafter, before Cal Poly used a similar run — thanks to a Nikki Fausey layup and then three more points from Lynn Leaupepe — to take a 25-19 advantage into the break.

A Hannah Gilbert layup put Cal Poly up 29-21 almost three minutes into the third quarter, but UC Irvine stayed close, going to the fourth down just 32-27. The Mustangs, however, scored seven of the final quarter's initial nine points for a 39-29 lead with 7:16 remaining.

UC Irvine cut the deficit to 41-36 with 2:31 left, but Cal Poly forced misses on the last five Anteater shots, leading by as many as 13 en route to improving to 34-17 in the all-time series between the two programs.

Cal Poly, which also won 72-54 at the Bren Events Center on Jan. 9, led for 33:14 of the game.

The Mustangs, who came into the week ranked No. 53 in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (limiting opponents to .366 shooting), held the Anteaters to a 14-for-64 night (a season-best 21.9-percent yield) Saturday.

Gilbert finished with 14 points, while Balbierz added 13, Lynn Leaupepe 11 and Dynn Leaupepe 10. It was the seventh time this season four Mustangs scored in double-figures.

Lynn Leaupepe grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds while also distributing a game-high four assists.

Cal Poly will next visit UC Davis at 7 p.m. Wednesday before returning home to host UC Riverside at 4 p.m. Saturday (also Alumni Weekend).

Photos © 2016 Matt Aguirre and David E. Holmes
• (For more photos of the team in action, click here.)