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40-Point Game by Leaupepe Leads Cal Poly to 87-82 OT Comeback Win

40-Point Game by Leaupepe Leads Cal Poly to 87-82 OT Comeback Win

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Senior guard Dynn Leaupepe scored a career-high 40 points Thursday night at UC Riverside, and the Cal Poly women's basketball team rallied from 13 points down to force overtime and then win a Big West Conference-opening thriller, 87-82 inside SRC Arena.

Leaupepe's performance — tied for the sixth-highest single-game scoring output across the nation in Division I this season — is the first 40-point game for a Mustang since Dec. 21, 2011 — when Kristina Santiago netted 44 against San Diego State. Fellow Cal Poly Hall of Fame enshrinee Laura Buehning owns the school record — 46 — set in 1982.

Leaupepe, chosen as the conference player of the week on Dec. 18, shot 12-for-19 from the floor (3-for-4 from behind the arc and 13-of-16 at the foul line) and also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Highlanders sprinted to a 17-7 lead with 2:52 left in the first, but the Mustangs rallied to close the quarter down 19-12.

Cal Poly (7-6, 1-0) kept the momentum going in the second quarter, tying the game at 24 on a 3-pointer by freshman guard Ayzhiana Basallo 5:48 before halftime, and then regaining the lead (26-24 at the 4:49 mark) on a layup from Leaupepe.

Back-to-back free throws by Basallo put the Mustangs up 32-29 with 3:07 remaining until intermission — capping a 25-12 run — on the way to a 37-37 tie at the break.

UCR quickly broke the deadlock to begin the second half, following an opening-possession drive by leading scorer Michelle Curry with a 3 via senior guard Lauren Holt to take a 42-37 lead.

After trailing 60-47, Cal Poly senior Emily Anderson ignited a furious fourth-quarter comeback, knocking down three 3-pointers — with 6:15 (cutting the deficit to 66-60), 5:32 (68-63) and 4:35 left in regulation (tying the game at 68-all).

A Basallo 3 then gave the Mustangs the lead — 71-70 — with 3:49 on the clock, finishing a 24-10 surge.

Two free throws from Marina Ewodo put the Highlanders back up 79-76 with 16 seconds to play, but Leaupepe answered with a 3 six seconds later to tie it back up at 79. UCR (3-12, 0-1) missed a look at an ensuing 3-point try, sending it to overtime.

In OT, Leaupepe sank two more free throws for an 81-80 lead at the exact halfway point of the extra period, and converted a layup to regain the lead at 83-82 a minute and 20 seconds later. Four straight free throws from Basallo and Leaupepe accounted for the final margin.

Basallo — who dropped a crucial layup to tie the game at 74 late in the fourth — also posted a career high, adding 21 points.

Anderson finished with 12 points, matching her career-best with four 3s, and Cal Poly junior point guard Dye Stahley also equaled a career-high effort, distributing seven assists. Additionally, true freshman Kirsty Brown corralled a season-high nine boards.

The Mustangs will next travel to face UC Santa Barbara in a Blue-Green Rivalry matchup on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Events Center Thunderdome in Isla Vista.