Mustangs secure double-bye to Big West Tournament semifinals - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Mustangs secure double-bye to Big West Tournament semifinals

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Photo Courtesy: Cal Poly Photo Courtesy: Cal Poly

Finishing 11-5 in Big West play, the Cal Poly women's basketball team earned the No. 2 seed to the upcoming conference tournament by defeating Hawai'i 67-61 in the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.

By clinching one of the top two seeds thanks to the regular-season finale win, the Mustangs secured a double-bye into the Big West Tournament semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 9 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

The first round (featuring seeds 5-8) and quarterfinals (adding the No. 3 and 4 seeds) will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Gym. UC Davis (24-5, 14-2), which earned the other double-bye to the semis, will face the lowest seed (at 12 noon Friday) to emerge from the first two days, while the Mustangs will draw the highest-remaining seed from the initial two rounds.

Earlier in the evening Saturday, UC Irvine closed its regular season winning 78-58 at Fullerton to move into a tie for second place.

Cal Poly (17-11) used a fast start in O'ahu to nullify any tiebreaker scenarios (as the Mustangs and third-seeded Anteaters split during the year), jumping out to a 19-3 lead with 3:47 remaining in the opening quarter.

Mustang senior guard Dynn Leaupepe went 6-for-7 as the Mustangs established the 16-point lead early on, including making both of her 3-point tries, en route to 16 points in only 6:13.

Hawai'i (12-17, 5-11), which came into the game 9-6 at home on the year, began to close the gap approaching the end of the first, however, ending the period down 21-8.

A 10-0 UH run narrowed the deficit to 23-18 with 6:02 to play until the break, before the Rainbow Wahine tied it 27-27 on a 3 from Julissa Tago at the 3:33 mark. The teams traded four more points apiece at the end of the half, heading to intermission deadlocked at 31-all.

The game stayed close, as the initial 2:38 of the third quarter featured four ties. The Mustangs moved in front by a six-point margin with 1:35 to go in the period, taking a 49-43 lead on a free throw by junior point guard Dye Stahley.

The Wahine, however, used a Tago buzzer-beater to end the third trailing just 50-47. UH cut it to one 34 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Cal Poly senior Emily Anderson answered with a 3 to push the Mustang lead back to 53-49 on the next possession.

Anderson again came up big with 5:25 to play, converting a layup-plus-the-foul and then sinking the free throw for a 58-52 lead. The Wahine continued to threaten, pulling within four points over the ensuing minute-and-a-half, but Leaupepe hit a jumper with 3:27 left to extend the lead to 62-56.

A 3 by Tia Kanoa with 18 seconds remaining brought Hawai'i within 64-61, but Leaupepe sank back-to-back free throws after being fouled on the inbound. Coming out of a timeout, UH missed two looks at 3-pointers, the latter of which was rebounded by Stahley with just nine seconds to play (before she added a free throw for the final score).

Leaupepe finished with 30 points, shooting 10-for-16 from the floor and 8-for-10 from the foul line, and junior center Devin Stanback added 11 points and two blocks in the win.

Meanwhile Lynn Leaupepe secured a team-high nine rebounds for the Mustangs. Sarah Toeaina led the Wahine with 19 points.

-Provided by Cal Poly

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