Mar 15, 2013 7:18 PM by Andrew Masuda
Big West Conference Player of the Year Molly Schlemer helped lead a second half surge as the Cal Poly women's basketball team beat rival UCSB 62-43 in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament on Friday in Anaheim. The Mustangs advanced to the championship game for the third time in program history and the first time in two years.
The second seeded Mustangs went 3-0 against the Gauchos this season and improved to 20-10 overall. UCSB finished the year 16-16.
Cal Poly faces top seeded Pacific Saturday at 1 pm in the championship game. Pacific edged 8th seeded Cal State Fullerton 54-51 on a 3-point bucket with five seconds left to play. Cal Poly swept the regular season series against the Tigers.
The Mustangs lost to UCSB in 2009 and to UC Davis in 2011.
Schlemer, a Righetti High graduate, scored 20 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to lead the Mustangs. She made 10 of her 23 shots from the floor. The 6-5 junior scored 10 points in the first eight minutes of the second half to fuel a 15-4 run that helped Cal Poly build a 14 point lead.
Jonae Ervin and Ariana Elegado scored 8 points apiece. Kayla Griffin and Schlemer led the Mustangs with 9 rebounds apiece.
The Mustangs sealed the game down the stretch at the free throw line and finished 16 for 19 at the line, an 84 percent mark. They shot 50 percent in the second half and 44 percent for the game.
Cal Poly led 22-19 at halftime after falling behind 6-0 at the 12:16 mark. The Mustangs missed their first eight shots and could not generate their offense until more than halfway through the first half. Kayla Griffin hit a 3-pointer to give Cal Poly its first lead of the game 11-10. Kristen Ale came off the bench to score 5 big points for the Mustangs to help give Cal Poly a lead at intermission.
Nicole Nesbit led the Gauchos with 11 points, while Angela Aguirre addded 10. The Cal Poly defense limited UCSB to just 35 percent shooting from the floor and forced the Gauchos to commit 17 turnovers. Sweets Underwood managed just 4 points to go with 8 rebounds. Kirsten Tilleman led UCSB with 10 rebounds.
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