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Stahley, Willett Lead Cal Poly to Blue-Green Rivalry Win Over UCSB

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Starting guards Dye Stahley and Maddie Willett combined for 31 points in Mott Athletics Center on Saturday, while the Cal Poly bench outscored UC Santa Barbara's 19-4, leading the Mustang women's basketball team to a 75-67 Big West Conference win.

Stahley played her fourth straight 40-minute game, marking the seventh time in the past nine in which she recorded a complete-game effort.

The senior point guard went 4-for-9 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and made all six of her free throws en route to 16 points. She was one shy of her season-high assist total, with eight, and equaled her season-high for steals, with four.

Meanwhile Willett, a freshman guard making her seventh consecutive start, shot 6-for-10 overall, including 1-for-3 from deep on the way to 15 points.

Senior center Devin Stanback added 10 points for Cal Poly, which altogether shot a season-best 50.0 percent (27-for-54) from the floor, while earning its eighth consecutive victory at home against the Gauchos.

Cal Poly (4-9, 1-1) jumped out to a hot start, as a Willett layup provided a 7-0 lead just under two minutes in. Stahley made a 3 with 4:05 left in the opening quarter to push the Mustang lead to 16-2, prompting a UCSB timeout.

The Gauchos (3-12, 0-2) battled back, closing the deficit to 18-10 by the end of the period, then moving within 25-23 on a 3-point play by Coco Miller with 4:37 remaining until the break. A jumper by freshman guard Alli Hallberg sent Cal Poly to halftime ahead 33-26.

UCSB scored the first nine points of the third quarter, roaring in front 35-33 almost two-and-a-half minutes after the teams returned to the floor. But the Gaucho lead was short-lived, as Stanback converted in the post on the ensuing possession to tie it at 35-all, followed by a layup from junior forward Alicia Roufosse to regain Cal Poly the upper hand for good, 37-35.

The Mustangs went on a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter (four points off their longest run of the year) to take a 49-37 advantage. In all for the game, UCSB led for 21 seconds, while Cal Poly led for nearly 38 minutes.

After starting the fourth quarter trailing 56-43, UCSB mounted one more rally, moving as close as six points back — 67-61 — on a 3-pointer by Miller with 1:49 to play. The Gauchos got no closer, though, as the rivals each had a scoreless ensuing possession before junior forward Hana Vesela sank a pair of free throws to give Cal Poly a 69-61 lead with 1:25 left down the stretch.

Miller finished with 33 points — the fifth-highest scoring game by a Big West player all season.

Vesela swatted two shots in the victory, her second straight two-block game, while senior forward Katie Nunnelley led the Mustangs on the glass with seven boards.

Cal Poly will play its next two matchups on the road, visiting Long Beach State at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 before traveling to Cal State Fullerton for a 6 p.m. tipoff Saturday, Jan. 19.

Photos © Nathan Nybakke (Photography 805)