SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly point guard Abbey Ellis drove for a game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left on Saturday against Lamar, giving the Mustang women's basketball team a 57-56 victory to close the #ShareSLO Holiday Beach Classic in Mott Athletics Center.
Ellis, a true freshman from Yallambie, Australia, finished with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including a 2-of-5 afternoon from behind the arc, while going 2-of-3 at the free-throw line. She also had four assists and two steals.
The Mustangs started hot, as an Ellis drive on the game's second possession, followed by a layup from graduate forward Alicia Roufosse and then a drive by junior wing Hannah Peterson staked Cal Poly to a 6-0 lead 2:16 from the opening tip.
A 3-pointer by Cal Poly junior guard Chantel Govan pushed the Mustang advantage to 20-9 by the end of the first quarter. Also before the break, Cal Poly led by as many as 11 thanks to a pair of free throws from junior forward Kirsty Brown 4:39 before intermission making it 26-15.
The Cardinals narrowed the deficit to seven by halftime, trailing 32-25, however, led by 10-point halves from both Jadyn Pimentel and Amber Vidal.
After finishing the third quarter with five straight points for a 45-34 lead heading into the fourth, Cal Poly (2-5) took its largest lead of the evening at 47-34 on a layup by Govan, before matching the 13-point margin at 49-36 on a Brown lay-in with 7:24 remaining. Lamar went on a 12-0 run over the ensuing two minutes & 35 seconds, though, to suddenly pull just one point back, 49-48 with 4:49 to play.
Ellis then sank a 3 to snap the Cardinal run and put Cal Poly up 52-48, but Lamar (2-5) would again answer with five straight points, moving into the lead for the first time all day, 53-52 via an Angel Hastings layup with 2:45 on the clock. Ellis quickly regained the lead with a drive for a basket, plus the foul on the next possession, adding the free throw to make it 55-53.
Hastings then knocked down a huge 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Cardinals up 56-55 with 1:39 left. Neither team could score over the minute-and-a-half which followed, however, including five straight missed free throws by Lamar during the final 44 seconds, leaving the door open for Cal Poly late.
Mustang junior forward Sierra Campisano rebounded the last Lamar free-throw miss, before Cal Poly called timeout, putting the ball in the hands of Ellis for the dramatic finish.
Ellis took a screen from Roufosse near the top of the circle, driving into the lane from the right side of the floor before spinning into a pirouette, ultimately falling backwards after a collision with two Cardinal defenders, dropping the layup into the net off the glass for the lead. On the inbound to follow after a Cardinal timeout, Lamar sent a lob to the basket, but couldn't secure the ball as Roufosse made a key deflection as time expired, giving Cal Poly the one-point victory.
For Ellis, it was the second 20-point performance in four games.
Meanwhile Roufosse added 11 points in the start, shooting 5-for-10, in addition to corralling a career-high 14 rebounds, one-upping her previous best, a 13-board effort at Fresno State last year.
Brown also scored a season-high eight points, while Campisano — who joined Ellis on the all-tournament team — tied for the team high in assists with four. Amari Young, who helped lead Old Dominion (5-1) to the Beach Classic title with a 67-55 morning win over Idaho (3-3), was named Tournament MVP.
Leading into final-exams week (Dec. 9-13), Cal Poly will return to the floor at Saint Mary's on Saturday, Dec. 7. Tipoff from McKeon Pavilion in Moraga is set for 2 p.m., broadcast on WCC TV.