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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly will open the 2018-19 women's basketball season on Tuesday evening, hosting Academy of Art University at 5:30 p.m. in Mott Athletics Center.
Free Mustang schedule posters and magnets will be handed out to fans at the Nov. 6 home opener.
It's the first-ever meeting between Cal Poly and Art U, members of the PacWest Conference from San Francisco.
The Urban Knights, who graduated their top three scorers from a year ago, have added 6-foot-6 junior center Anastasia Tsybaeva as a transfer from Kansas State, along with sophomore guard Lily Perkins from Eastern Washington.
Cal Poly will then embark on a four-game road swing, beginning at No. 8 Oregon State on Friday. Tipoff at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 9.
The Beavers went 26-8 last year (15-2 at home) en route to an Elite Eight appearance. OSU junior guard Kat Tudor, an All-Pac-12 honorable mention after averaging 12.0 points in 2017-18, played for the United States at the inaugural FISU America Games in Brazil this past July.
The road trip then continues back in California, at Sacramento State on Nov. 11, then Fresno State on Nov. 14 and San Francisco Nov. 18.
STAHLEY, STANBACK LEAD 7 RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: The Mustangs return seven letterwinners from last year's squad that finished second in the Big West standings at 11-5 en route to a semifinals appearance at the conference tournament, going 17-12 overall. They're joined by a recruiting class of 11 newcomers heading into 2018-19.
Among the returning Mustangs, senior point guard Dye Stahley is back after winning the Big West Conference Best Hustle Award as a junior.
Stahley, who has started 53 games over the past two years (making 84 appearances since her freshman year), led the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio during conference play in 2018, at 2.5-to-1. Additionally, Stahley ranked fourth in the conference in steals per game (2.0), as well as sixth in assists (averaging 3.6).
Now with 102 steals for her career, Stahley helped the Mustangs rank No. 15 in the country for 2017-18 in steals per game as a team, with 11.0.
Also back from the starting lineup is senior center Devin Stanback, who ranked eighth in the Big West in offensive rebounds per game (2.2) last year, in addition to 12th throughout the conference in field-goal percentage (.465) while ranking third on the team in scoring, with 8.2 points per game.
Cal Poly's recruiting class of 11 newcomers includes Sierra Campisano as a (redshirting) transfer from Oregon (via Torrey Pines High School in San Diego); Alli Hallberg from Wenatchee Valley College in Washington; Kyra Jacks of El Camino Real HS (West Hills, Calif.); Madison Lundquist of Woodinville (Wash.) HS; Rebecca Penner from Moorpark (Calif.) HS; Hannah Peterson via Foothill College (from Leigh HS in San Jose); Alicia Roufosse from the University of San Francisco (via W.J. Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford, B.C.); Gianna Silvestri from Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco; Hana Vesela from Michigan State, back on the court by mid-December (Pribor, Czech Republic); Maddie Vick of Chaparral HS in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Maddie Willett of Gig Harbor (Wash.) HS.
HOLIDAY BEACH CLASSIC SET FOR NOV. 23-24: Cal Poly will return to Mott Athletics Center to host the 12th annual ShareSLO Holiday Beach Classic.
The schedule for the Thanksgiving weekend tournament, which features free admission for the entire community, is listed below:
Fri., Nov. 23
2 p.m. • Illinois at Cal Poly
4:30 p.m. • Pepperdine vs. Sacramento State
Sat., Nov. 24
2 p.m. • Sacramento State vs. Illinois
4:30 p.m. • Pepperdine at Cal Poly
BIG WEST TOURNAMENT SLATED FOR IRVINE, ANAHEIM: The first round (featuring seeds 5-8) and quarterfinals (adding the No. 3 and 4 seeds) of the 36th annual Big West Tournament will be held from March 12-13 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, before the semifinals and championship game move to the Honda Center in Anaheim for March 15-16.
Cal Poly was picked fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Big West Conference Preseason Women's Basketball media and coaches polls on Oct. 24.
The Mustangs received 101 points in the media balloting for fifth (seven points back of a tie for third between UC Irvine and Long Beach State), next to 35 points in the coaches voting to rank sixth (10 back of Hawai'i, chosen fifth).
Defending Big West Tournament champion CSUN was projected by the coaches for first place, receiving 77 points alongside six first-place votes, outdoing 2018 regular-season champion UC Davis' 75 points coupled with three first-place ballots. The media poll was switched at the top, however, with 12 first-place votes boosting the Aggies to No. 1, edging out CSUN (eight first places), 171-166.
Additionally, both also voted on Preseason All-Conference Teams, each of which came out identical: CSUN senior center Channon Fluker along with Matador teammate Serafina Maulupe, a senior guard, UCD senior forward Morgan Bertsch, CSF senior center Daeja Smith, UCI sophomore forward Jordan Sanders, and LBSU sophomore guard Shanajiah Davison.
FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: Mustang tickets are available at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk window at the on-campus Performing Arts Center from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Families are encouraged to sign up for the Mustang Kids Club ($10 per child 8th grade or under), as over $300 in benefits include ongoing free admission to all 2018-19 regular-season soccer, volleyball, wrestling & women's basketball events along with select football, men's basketball and baseball games; plus invitations to exclusive events; opportunities to be an honorary captain at Mustang home games; a birthday card from Musty; free gelato at SLO Sweets every month (along with birthday scavenger hunts) and a T-Shirt.
Cal Poly students always get into games for free, and are also invited to join the Stang Gang. Stang Gang, Cal Poly's student fan group, features several rewards for a $10 one-time lifetime registration fee, including prizes from sponsors such as Adidas, Amazon, SLO Sweets, Woodstock's Pizza, Eureka! Burger, Splash Café and Frank's Famous Hot Dogs, a member T-Shirt, and more upon reaching point levels by checking in at games.
Additional Mustang games throughout the season feature more fan giveaways along with campus and community events inside Mott Athletics Center (with more to be announced):
• Jan. 5 (Sat.) vs. UC Irvine • 2 p.m.
A Youth Basketball Day in Mott, the game vs. the Anteaters will feature free admission for kids 13-and-under. Mustang Kids Club members can also participate in a free youth basketball clinic with the team from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by free pizza.
• Feb. 9 (Sat.) vs. UC Davis • 2 p.m.
For Play4Kay Day, fans are encouraged to wear pink to support cancer awareness, and for every ticket purchased, $2 will go directly to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to support cancer research. Fans can also make a donation at the game, or pledge a donation for every free throw Cal Poly makes in February as part of the Play4Kay Free Throw Challenge.
• March 2 (Sat.) vs. CSUN • 2 p.m.
In addition to Senior Day, the home finale will also be a Poly Play Day, 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.
Links to follow Mustang games live throughout the season can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.
Photo © Alexander Bohlen
Cal Poly Opens 2018-19 Season Hosting Academy of Art at 5:30 Tuesday
COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (PDF)