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Eastern Washington Edges Cal Poly in Back-and-Forth Battle, 75-72

Eastern Washington Edges Cal Poly in Back-and-Forth Battle, 75-72

CHENEY, Wash. — In a game featuring 16 ties and 24 lead changes, the Eastern Washington women's basketball team prevailed at home over Cal Poly on Monday night, 75-72 at Reese Court.

The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Mustangs (4-4), who were coming off a victory over another Big Sky Conference opponent, 89-73 at Northern Arizona on Saturday.

The Eagles took a 21-17 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Symone Starks, concluding a period with an identical 10-10 margin for points in the paint and an even 8-8 comparison in points off turnovers.

A jumper by Mariah Cunningham 19 seconds into the second quarter gave EWU its largest lead of the evening, 23-17.

The Mustangs soon rallied, however, going on an 11-2 run to assume their largest advantage all night — 42-34 — on a 3 by freshman guard Ayzhiana Basallo exactly two minutes before halftime. The Eagles recovered, though, to head to the break down just 44-41.

The second half was back-and-forth throughout — with 15 of the game's 24 lead exchanges taking place after intermission, including a go-ahead free throw by Starks that closed the third quarter 60-59.

Then with 2:30 remaining, a layup by senior forward Mary Kate Evans put Cal Poly up 72-70. Uriah Howard answered with a 3 on the ensuing possession, however, reversing the lead one final time.

EWU (4-5) came up with four straight stops before nine seconds were all that were left — at which point Howard sank a pair of free throws for the three-point lead. Cal Poly had one last look coming out of a timeout, but a 3 by Basallo was short.

Cal Poly played all but the opening three-and-a-half minutes without leading scorer and rebounder Lynn Leaupepe, a preseason All-Big West selection who left with an injury in the first quarter.

Mustang senior Dynn Leaupepe scored a game-high 21 points, moving past Molly Schlemer (2010-14) for No. 7 in school history in career scoring (now with 1,144 points).

Cal Poly junior center Devin Stanback added 16 points, shooting a team-best 8-for-11.

The Mustangs will continue their five-game road trip — their longest since 2013-14 — by traveling to Minnesota (9-2) at 10 a.m. PST Wednesday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

Photo © 2017 David E. Holmes