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Women’s Hoop Holds On to Defeat UC Irvine, 84-79

Women’s Hoop Holds On to Defeat UC Irvine, 84-79

IRVINE, Calif. – The Cal Poly women's basketball team needed four players to score in double figures to hold off a late charge by the UC Irvine Anteaters in a Big West Conference game, 84-79, on Saturday at the Bren Center.

With the win the Mustangs hold on to the No. 1 spot in the Big West Conference with a 7-1 record and improve to 13-8 overall. UCI falls to 3-4 in Big West games and 10-11 overall. The Mustangs return to the court on Saturday, Feb. 8, when they host Hawai'i for a 2 pm game.

Senior Molly Schlemer scored a game-high 31 points when she connected on 15 of 24 shots from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior Ariana Elegado got back on track, after scoring just four points at UC Davis, with 21 points. Fellow junior Kristen Ale came off the bench to add 15 points when she made four of eight from the floor and all five attempts from the line. Senior Amaka Ofodu was the fourth Mustang in double figures when she dropped in 10 points when she made four of five from the field.

Redshirt freshman Maddie Allen led the team off the bench with nine rebounds and two blocks while Elegado dished out a career-high tying 13 assists.

Camille Buckley led UCI with 19 points and grabbed a remarkable 26 rebounds. Naessa Aguilar and Jasmine Bernard came off the bench to add 16 and 15 points respectively.

The Mustangs shot 51 percent from the floor making it three straight games shooting 50 percent or better and fifth time overall this season. Cal Poly connected on just three of 13 from long range and hit 19 of 26 from the line.

UCI shot 35 percent from the floor and made seven of 22 from beyond on the arc, but made only 12 of 21 at the line. UC Irvine outrebounded the Mustangs, 58-37.

The Mustangs opened up a 12-6 lead five minutes into the game with UCI hitting just two of its first 12 shots. UCI then went on a 6-0 run to tie the game before Ale answered with a three with 12:49 on the clock. Cal Poly built a five point lead (30-25) on a jumper by Ofodu with 6:33 on the clock and settled for a 36-34 lead at the break.

In the second half the Mustangs took a six point advantage (49-43) on a jumper by Schlemer and made it an eight point lead on the next possession on a layup by Allen with 13:43 left in the game. Cal Poly maintained that advantage until the 6:50 mark when Schlemer hit a jumper to put the Mustangs up 10 (66-56).

The Mustangs held a nine point lead (78-69) with 1:08 left when UCI outscored the Mustangs 10-3 over the next 53 seconds to make it a two point game (81-79) with 15 seconds to play. Elegado and Ale connected on four straight free throws to put the game out of reach with the Mustangs holding on for an 84-79 win.