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Cal Poly Edged at Long Beach State, 61-58

Cal Poly Edged at Long Beach State, 61-58

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Alli Hallberg scored a career-high 17 points Thursday night at Long Beach State, and fellow Cal Poly freshman guard Maddie Willett added 12 in their first conference road game, but the 49ers women's basketball team held on inside Walter Pyramid to move to 2-0 in Big West play, 61-58.

Hallberg, a grad of Wenatchee High School in Washington, sank all of her made field goals on the evening from behind the 3-point line, shooting 5-for-12 from deep (5-for-15 overall), and went 2-for-4 at the foul line to eclipse her previous season-high, a 16-point performance against Pepperdine. She also grabbed 10 rebounds, doubling her previous collegiate best.

Long Beach State started quickly, as a 3-pointer from Preseason All-Big West sophomore guard Shanaijah Davison gave the 49ers a 7-2 lead almost four minutes into the game, on the way to a 13-9 lead through the opening quarter.

Cal Poly (4-10, 1-2) moved in front in the second quarter, however, going on a 10-0 run to start the period — consisting of a layup by senior forward Katie Nunnelley, a 3-point play via senior center Devin Stanback, a 3 from Willett and a Nunnelley jumper — providing the Mustangs a 19-13 lead with 7:14 left until the break.

A 3-pointer from Hallberg gave Cal Poly its largest advantage, 22-15, at the 6:06 mark. The 49ers (5-10) regrouped, taking a 31-28 lead thanks to a jump shot from Kianna Hamilton-Fisher 1:43 prior to intermission, but Hallberg answered with another 3-pointer for the final points of the half, sending the teams to the locker room tied at 31-all.

The game stayed close in the third quarter, a period featuring five lead changes along with two ties, with Long Beach carrying a 53-51 advantage into the fourth. Davison knocked down another jumper with 7:15 remaining in regulation to push the 49er lead to 57-52, but single Mustang free throws a minute apart from each other, followed by a Willett basket in the paint, brought Cal Poly within 57-56 with 4:49 on the clock.

The 49ers didn't allow Cal Poly to regain the lead, though, as Jasmine Hardy scored in the key to establish a 59-56 gap with 4:18 to play, followed by a Davison free throw making it 60-56. 

Willett would add a pair of free throws with 2:05 left to cut the deficit to 60-58, but they would be Cal Poly's last points of the evening, as Stanback was whistled for a charge on a collision in the lane coming out of a timeout with under 20 seconds to play.

Freshman guard Justina King tacked on a final free throw with the Mustangs fouling to stop the clock, but due to her miss of the first attempt, left a chance for Cal Poly to tie it late. The Mustangs swung the ball around the perimeter to find Willett for a look at the potentially-tying 3, but her shot caromed off the rim, into the hands of 49er junior forward Cydnee Kinslow as time expired, as LBSU prevailed on a night featuring 10 lead changes & six ties.

Cal Poly will continue its road trip visiting Cal State Fullerton (9-6, 1-1) Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Titan Gym.

File Photo © David E. Holmes