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Cal Poly moves to 6-1 at home with fourth-quarter comeback over - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Cal Poly moves to 6-1 at home with fourth-quarter comeback over UC Irvine

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The Cal Poly women's basketball team scored 13 unanswered points in less than three minutes to close out a furious fourth-quarter comeback at Mott Athletics Center on Thursday night, completing a dramatic 79-76 Big West Conference victory over UC Irvine.

Tahlia Garza scored on a layup at exactly the 3:00 mark to give the Anteaters their largest lead of the entire evening at 10, 76-66. Cal Poly didn't allow another point, however, in rallying all the way to the finish.

Mustang senior guard Kelly Wong started the comeback with a pair of free throws with 2:53 remaining, followed by another free throw via senior guard Dynn Leaupepe with 2:32 left, cutting it to 76-69.

Cal Poly pulled within two possessions (76-72) with 1:50 to play on a 3-pointer from Leaupepe, and then only 26 seconds later saw fellow senior Emily Anderson — the conference's second-leading 3-point shooter — bury another deep ball to bring the Mustangs one point away, 76-75.

Then after senior center Nikki Fausey rebounded an Anteater miss, Leaupepe drew a foul and proceeded to sink back-to-back foul shots for a 77-76 lead with 49 seconds remaining.

Coming out of a timeout, UCI (10-8, 2-2) missed a look at a potential go-ahead jumper, corralled in by Anderson with 38 seconds to play. Following a Mustang timeout, Anderson found another rebound in the key and sank the put-back for an insurance basket, making it 79-76 with 6.3 seconds left.

The Anteaters didn't get off a shot before the final horn, as Cal Poly (9-7, 3-1) improved to 6-1 at home for the season.

The 13-0 run to close out the game almost was the Mustangs' largest unbroken run of the season, just shy of the 15-0 run midway through the second quarter of a 73-69 win at North Dakota State on Dec. 16.

Leaupepe finished with a game-high 26 points, upping her career total to 1,340 points — surpassing Christine Rodness (1,337 from 1991-95) for the No. 5 spot in school history.

Meanwhile Wong (who made all five of her shot attempts) scored a career-high 16 points and had five steals, also a career best as a Mustang.

Anderson added 11 points, including a 3-for-4 performance from behind the arc to increase her season percentage from 3 to .456.

Fausey also established a new career high with nine rebounds, while junior point guard Dye Stahley distributed seven assists for the sixth time at Cal Poly.

The Mustangs jumped out to a 39-28 lead 1:54 before halftime, but UCI narrowed the gap to 43-38 by the break, before taking a 60-56 lead into the fourth quarter.

Cal Poly will conclude its three-game home stand by hosting defending Big West regular-season champion UC Davis (13-3, 3-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday, also Special Olympics Day at Mott.

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