Cal Poly Earns No. 2 Seed to Big West Tournament with Win at Hawai'i

Cal Poly Earns No. 2 Seed to Big West Tournament with Win at Hawai'i

Mustangs Secure Double-Bye to Semifinals at Honda Center on Friday, March 9

Big West Conference Tournament Bracket (PDF)

HONOLULU — Finishing 11-5 in Big West play, the Cal Poly women's basketball team earned the No. 2 seed to the upcoming conference tournament by defeating Hawai'i 67-61 in the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.

By clinching one of the top two seeds thanks to the regular-season finale win, the Mustangs secured a double-bye into the Big West Tournament semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 9 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

The first round (featuring seeds 5-8) and quarterfinals (adding the No. 3 and 4 seeds) will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Gym. UC Davis (24-5, 14-2), which earned the other double-bye to the semis, will face the lowest seed (at 12 noon Friday) to emerge from the first two days, while the Mustangs will draw the highest-remaining seed from the initial two rounds.

Earlier in the evening Saturday, UC Irvine closed its regular season winning 78-58 at Fullerton to move into a tie for second place.

Cal Poly (17-11) used a fast start in O'ahu to nullify any tiebreaker scenarios (as the Mustangs and third-seeded Anteaters split during the year), jumping out to a 19-3 lead with 3:47 remaining in the opening quarter.

Mustang senior guard Dynn Leaupepe went 6-for-7 as the Mustangs established the 16-point lead early on, including making both of her 3-point tries, en route to 16 points in only 6:13.

Hawai'i (12-17, 5-11), which came into the game 9-6 at home on the year, began to close the gap approaching the end of the first, however, ending the period down 21-8.

A 10-0 UH run narrowed the deficit to 23-18 with 6:02 to play until the break, before the Rainbow Wahine tied it 27-27 on a 3 from Julissa Tago at the 3:33 mark. The teams traded four more points apiece at the end of the half, heading to intermission deadlocked at 31-all.

The game stayed close, as the initial 2:38 of the third quarter featured four ties. The Mustangs moved in front by a six-point margin with 1:35 to go in the period, taking a 49-43 lead on a free throw by junior point guard Dye Stahley.

The Wahine, however, used a Tago buzzer-beater to end the third trailing just 50-47. UH cut it to one 34 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Cal Poly senior Emily Anderson answered with a 3 to push the Mustang lead back to 53-49 on the next possession.

Anderson again came up big with 5:25 to play, converting a layup-plus-the-foul and then sinking the free throw for a 58-52 lead. The Wahine continued to threaten, pulling within four points over the ensuing minute-and-a-half, but Leaupepe hit a jumper with 3:27 left to extend the lead to 62-56.

A 3 by Tia Kanoa with 18 seconds remaining brought Hawai'i within 64-61, but Leaupepe sank back-to-back free throws after being fouled on the inbound. Coming out of a timeout, UH missed two looks at 3-pointers, the latter of which was rebounded by Stahley with just nine seconds to play (before she added a free throw for the final score).

Leaupepe finished with 30 points, shooting 10-for-16 from the floor and 8-for-10 from the foul line, and junior center Devin Stanback added 11 points and two blocks in the win.

Meanwhile Lynn Leaupepe secured a team-high nine rebounds for the Mustangs. Sarah Toeaina led the Wahine with 19 points.

Tickets for the Big West Tournament are available both through TicketMaster and the Cal Poly Box Office, at (805) 756-4849 or ESPN3 will broadcast the tournament's first three days, before FOX Sports Prime Ticket will televise the championship game.