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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly starts a four-game home stand this week, as the Mustang women's basketball team will host the 12th annual ShareSLO Holiday Beach Classic. The schedule for the Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Mott Athletics Center, featuring free admission for the entire community, is listed below:
Friday, Nov. 23
2 p.m. • Illinois at Cal Poly
4:30 p.m. • Pepperdine vs. Sacramento State
Saturday, Nov. 24
2 p.m. • Sacramento State vs. Illinois
4:30 p.m. • Pepperdine at Cal Poly
In addition, Cal Poly will be collecting food donations for the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo, with collection barrels at the main entrance to Mott.
Illinois is off to a 3-0 start to this season. The Fighting Illini are led by senior forward Alex Wittinger, an All-Big Ten Second Team honoree in 2017-18. Wittinger begins the week averaging 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds, while junior guard Cierra Rice matches Wittinger scoring 13.7 per game.
Paige Fecske, a senior guard, paced Pepperdine (1-0) in its only game of the season so far, a 65-64 win over Hawai'i on Nov. 6, with 22 points. The Waves are also led by senior forward Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, a back-to-back All-WCC first-team selection after surpassing the career 1,000-point mark (1,060) as a junior.
Cal Poly (1-4) is coming off a 65-62 loss to San Francisco on Nov. 18, edged late in a game relocated to Cal State Monterey Bay. Malia Holt sank a go-ahead (62-61) 3-pointer for the Mustangs with 30 seconds remaining, but Julia Nielacna answered right back with a jumper on the next possession coming out of a timeout, retaking the lead for good for the Dons.
After the tournament, Cal Poly's home stand will continue against Eastern Washington at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 and Saint Mary's at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
STANBACK NO. 4 IN THE BIG WEST IN SCORING: Mustang senior center Devin Stanback comes into this week ranked No. 4 in the Big West in scoring, averaging 16.8 points.
Stanback, fifth in the conference in field-goal percentage at .556, is also grabbing 4.8 rebounds and blocking 1.0 shot per game. She posted career highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds in the 88-85 loss at Sacramento State on Nov. 11.
For the season, Stanback's total of 35 made field goals ranks No. 14 nationally. She was 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).
NUNNELLEY FOURTH IN REBOUNDING: Averaging 9.4 rebounds, Cal Poly senior forward Katie Nunnelley opens the week ranked fourth in the conference. She notched her second double-double in seven days against USF, leading Cal Poly with a career-best 21 points to go with 10 boards.
Nunnelley corralled 17 rebounds at Sacramento State. The most rebounds by a Mustang since Hannah Gilbert secured 18 at UC Irvine on Jan. 9, 2016, Nunnelley's effort was seven boards back of the single-game school record (24 by Sherrie Atteberry in 1987).
ROUFOSSE, HOLT, STAHLEY, SILVESTRI ALSO AMONG CONFERENCE LEADERS: Junior forward Alicia Roufosse, sophomore guard Malia Holt, senior point guard Dye Stahley and freshman shooting guard Gianna Silvestri also rank among the Big West leaders in several categories.
Roufosse, averaging 10.4 points, is eighth throughout the conference in field-goal percentage (.526), along with seventh in rebounding (8.0 per game).
Holt, meanwhile, ranks third in assists (5.4) and sixth in steals (2.4) per game, while Stahley is seventh (4.4) in assists. Shooting .462 (6-for-13) from behind the arc, Silvestri is fourth in the Big West in 3-point accuracy. With Holt and Stahley combining for an average of 9.8 assists, the Mustangs lead the conference in assists as a team (17.6 per game), 49th-most in the country.
Stahley won the Big West Conference Best Hustle Award as a junior. Stahley, who has started 58 games over the past three years (making 89 appearances since her freshman year), ranked fourth in the conference in steals (2.0) in 2017-18, helping the Mustangs rank No. 15 in the country in steals (11.0) as a team.
VESELA SET TO MAKE MUSTANG DEBUT IN MID-DECEMBER: The Mustangs returned 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 in 2018-19.
Among the 11 newcomers, Cal Poly will welcome junior power forward Hana Vesela to the court in mid-December. Vesela, a mid-year transfer last season from Michigan State, helped the Spartans reach the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore, averaging 2.8 points and 1.1 rebounds while shooting .458 overall (as well as .455 from 3-point range and .714 from the free-throw line) in her 8.9 minutes per 21 appearances (including two starts) in 2016-17.
Vesela, expected to return active Dec. 17, played for the Czech Republic U-20 program at the 2016 FIBA European Championship.
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.
Links to follow Mustang games live throughout the season can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.
Photos © Owen Main
Cal Poly Hosts Illinois, Pepperdine for ShareSLO Classic
COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (PDF)