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Cal Poly Women's Basketball Senior Spotlight: Dynn Leaupepe

Cal Poly Women's Basketball Senior Spotlight: Dynn Leaupepe

Dynn Leaupepe already ranked among the scoring leaders throughout the Big West Conference as a sophomore and junior. As a senior, though, the Cal Poly guard has become one of the top scorers across the country.

"I worked like every single day over the summer with Lynn," Leaupepe says, referring to her twin sister and teammate. "We would both come into the gym and do 3-point shooting drills on our own. It's just about having confidence, and confidence comes from reps and getting shots up."

At 20.8 points per game, Leaupepe not only leads the conference, but is 19th nationally.

Her Big West scoring average has elevated to 25.5 points per game, which would break the Mustang single-season conference record (22.1, set by Kristina Santiago in 2011-12).

"Her level of play is off the charts at the moment," Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh said. "For her to have more points per game than Kristina had in her senior season is remarkable, really, because Kristina had an exceptional year. And so this is an historic thing that we're witnessing, and it's fun to watch."

In addition to earning her third Big West Player of the Week award of the season, Leaupepe was selected as one of 10 finalists for Hero Sports' NCAA Player of the Week accolade on Feb. 5. She was also chosen as College Sports Madness' National Mid-Major Player of the Week on Jan. 8.

While shooting a career-best 45.1 percent overall, Leaupepe has also increased her 3-point percentage from 23.1 percent as a junior to 32.3 currently.

"She always has had a beautiful pull-up jump shot and an ability to create her own shot," Mimnaugh said. "But to then expand into being able to finish with either hand at the basket or make a step-through move, or a Euro-step move against any kind of contact, and then obviously the 3-point line development she's had — it's a testament to the work she's put in."

Leaupepe has 31 makes from beyond the arc for the year, more than doubling her total from a year ago.

"This past year I've been really focusing on my 3-point range so that I can have better opportunities to get to the basket, because a lot of people have scouted me that I'm a driver," she said. Leaupepe, who added that "being able to change speed of direction more has helped find better ways to score" as well, now has scored in double-figures for 19 straight games.

Her streak of double-digit scoring performances includes a career-high 40 points on Jan. 4 (tied for the NCAA's 13th-highest this season). While ranking third in the Big West in free-throw attempts, she's also on pace to break the career Mustang free-throw percentage record, at .827 (the 20th-highest accuracy around the NCAA among active Division I players, on pace for No. 5 in the history of the Big West).

"It really is incredible, and the fact she gets to the line as much as she does tells me how aggressive she is," Mimnaugh said.

A 63-percent free-throw shooter at Camarillo High School, Leaupepe shot .730 from the foul line as a Mustang freshman, then .774 as a sophomore, before breaking the Cal Poly single-season record in 2016-17, at .887.

"I wasn't really a great free-throw shooter coming into Cal Poly, so my high school coach kind of gives me grief about it," Leaupepe says with a laugh. "He's like, 'Oh, so now you want to make your free throws?!?' " While crediting Mustang mental performance specialist Jeff Troesch and her coaching staff for helping to improve mental preparation for free-throw opportunities, Leaupepe added, "working on my technique has helped me become the free-throw shooter I am today."

Meanwhile on the defensive end, Leaupepe also leads the Big West in steals, with 2.6 per game.

"Coming into my senior year I wanted to be the best in whatever category I needed to be to help the team," she said.

Among her 26 career games with at least three steals, she had a career-high six on both Jan. 20 and Feb. 1.

"I've seen so much growth from her," Mimnaugh commented. "She's been more disciplined with what she does defensively, and she's definitely more active in the right times at the right moments on the court. I also think her overall team concept about how defense works has really grown, and she's put the time in."

She also ranks 11th all-time at Cal Poly in rebounding, with 572 career boards.

Leaupepe, an Experience Industry Management major focusing in Sports Management, has aspirations of playing professionally, but "Right now I'm just looking forward to every game and every practice that I have left here at Cal Poly," she says.

In addition to Santiago (1,953 points), only Laura Buehning (1,843; 1979-82) stands above Leaupepe on Cal Poly's all-time scoring list. Mimnaugh, who has seen recent alumni such as Rachel Clancy (Spain), Santiago (Bulgaria and Israel) and Molly Schlemer (Germany and Turkey) go on to careers overseas, says that Leaupepe is also "the caliber of player that professional teams would be interested in," not only because of her abilities on the floor but also her intangible qualities.

"I think the other part that I've really been impressed with this year is how she's taken on a different level of leadership," Mimnaugh said. "She'll repeat key points that need to be emphasized in the course of a practice, and she's vital to the team dynamic on the court and in the locker room. As good of a player as she is, she's an even better person. She's a great talent, and I couldn't be more proud of the work that she's put into her overall game." 

Photos © Alexander Bohlen & David E. Holmes

Cal Poly has returned home to face UC Santa Barbara for the Blue-Green Rivalry at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 (also Greek Night at Mott Athletics Center), before hosting Cal State Fullerton at 2 p.m. Saturday.

In addition to Senior Day, Feb. 24 vs. the Titans will also be Poly Play Day at Mott, as kids are invited to an annual pregame carnival at 1 p.m. in the Stampede Club Tent, followed by free admission for youth 13-and-under.