Mustang true freshman Abbey Ellis scored a season-high 37 points on Thursday night — tied for the 20th-highest single-game output across the country this year — to lead the Cal Poly women’s basketball team to a 75-70 Big West Conference win over UC Riverside at Mott Athletics Center.
Ellis, a point guard from Yallambie, Australia, made 14 of her 20 total shots, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and added a flawless 6-for-6 evening at the free-throw line en route to the highest-scoring game by a Mustang since Jan. 4, 2018 (when current Spanish-LF2 pro Dynn Leaupepe netted 40 at UCR).
The night also saw Cal Poly break a single-game program record for free-throw accuracy (percentage on at least 10 makes). The Mustangs went 14-for-14 from the foul line, surpassing the .944 team effort at the charity stripe (via 17-of-18) against UCSB in 1982.
A back-and-forth first quarter Thursday saw three lead changes and two ties, with Riverside heading to the second up 20-15.
UCR (2-2 BWC; 6-12) added to its lead before the break, leading by 10 points on five occasions (27-17, 29-19, 34-24, 36-26 and 38-28), but the Mustangs (1-3 BWC; 4-11) didn’t allow the margin to surpass that many prior to intermission, heading to the locker room down 38-30.
The Highlanders took their largest lead of the game at 46-32 on a Marina Ewodo fast break with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter, but Cal Poly answered with a pivotal 10-0 run to pull within 46-42 with 4:01 to play in the period.
Ellis accounted for four points during the 10-0 run, while junior forward Sierra Campisano — who finished with 20 points & eight rebounds — had the other six. It was the largest comeback of the year for the Mustangs, eclipsing the rally from 10 down (21-11) on the way to the 62-43 victory over Sacramento State on Nov. 20.
After starting the fourth quarter trailing 54-49, Cal Poly fell behind 66-58 when Skyler Lewis scored in the key with 5:17 left. The go-ahead sequence for the Mustangs unfolded late, as Cal Poly didn’t allow UCR to score for the final two minutes and 40 seconds.
First, Ellis hit a 3 to bring Cal Poly within 70-69 with 1:39 to go. After Alicia Roufosse rebounded a UCR miss, the Mustangs worked the ball to Ellis, who scored on a jumper to take the lead, 71-70 with 1:01 to play.
Then coming out of a timeout, Chantel Govan came up with a crucial steal, before passing to Ellis, who knocked down two free throws after being fouled, stretching the lead to 73-70 at the 25-second mark. Following another timeout, UCR missed a look at a potentially tying 3, before Campisano secured the rebound, and then added two more free throws for the final margin.
This was Campisano’s seventh 20-point effort of the year.
Ellis also distributed a team-high four assists while claiming three steals in her 35 minutes.
Cal Poly concludes its home stand on Saturday afternoon, hosting UC Davis at 2 p.m. Jan. 25 vs. the Aggies is also National Girls & Women in Sports Day at Mott, with admission free for kids 13-and-under.
-Provided by Cal Poly