Cal Poly opens its 2019-20 season at home on Wednesday night, as the Mustang women's basketball team hosts Fresno State at 7 p.m. in Mott Athletics Center, before heading to Pepperdine for a 2 p.m. tipoff Sunday at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Free season schedule posters will be handed out to Mustang fans at the Nov. 6 home opener.
Joined by a class of six newcomers, Cal Poly welcomes to the floor redshirt junior forward Sierra Campisano (who joined the Mustangs with two years of eligibility after transferring in from Oregon) to the court this winter, along with returning eight letterwinners, plus two activated redshirt freshmen.
Additionally, Cal Poly brings back its leading scorer in senior forward Hana Vesela, who ranked 12th throughout the Big West with 11.2 points per game upon joining the squad mid-season in 2019 from Michigan State.
Also back is sophomore guard Maddie Willett — a 2019 Big West All-Freshman Team selection — who ranked No. 9 in the conference in 3-point shooting (at .342 while averaging 6.2 points) and made 17 starts as a true freshman out of Gig Harbor, Wash. In addition, grad forward Alicia Roufosse also ranked among the Top 15 throughout the conference in two categories a year ago, averaging 5.5 rebounds (14th) and shooting 44.5 percent overall (11th) as a nominee for 6th Woman of the Year.
14 HOME GAMES HIGHLIGHT '19-20 CAL POLY SCHEDULE: Cal Poly's 2019-20 schedule includes 14 home games, highlighting a 27-game slate featuring opponents from nine different conferences comprising non-league play.
"Our preseason schedule prepares us well for many of the styles of play that we see in conference play. While no other opponent we face plays the Grinnell system of five-out, five-in, pressing game of Sacramento State; UCI, CSF and Long Beach State all employ multiple press defenses," Mustang head coach Faith Mimnaugh said. "Other teams were selected for their offensive style of play or physical size or rebounding acumen that mimics our conference foes."
One of the Mustangs' most pressing tasks will be to fill the starting point guard vacancy left by the graduation of Dye Stahley, who ranked 47th nationally in assists (5.0 per game) and 59th in the country in steals (2.3), leading the Big West in both categories.
"It is impossible for us to replace a one-woman defensive wrecking crew like Dye Stahley," Mimnaugh added. "Her leadership, savvy and toughness are rare and led to her being deservedly named two-time Big West Hustle Player of the Year."
Following a 2018 season in which the Mustangs finished second in the Big West standings at 11-5 (17-12 overall) — earning a double-bye to the semifinals of the Big West Tournament at the Honda Center with the runner-up finish — Cal Poly came in ninth place last year at 6-21 overall; 3-13 in-conference.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs went 19-13 overall a year ago, including an 11-7 mark in Mountain West Conference play. The first of three consecutive 2019 WNIT participants Cal Poly will face right out of the gate, Fresno State is led by junior forward Maddi Utti, a Mountain West All-Defensive selection a year ago.
In addition to Utti (who averaged 12.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals & 1.1 blocks last year), the Bulldogs saw Haley Cavinder, a freshman point guard, earn a Preseason All-MWC nod on Oct. 31. Utti shot 56.5 percent from the floor in 2018-19, ranking 22nd in the country for field-goal accuracy.
Fresno State won last year's matchup between the two, 76-58 at the Save Mart Center on Nov. 14, to improve to 26-10 against the Mustangs all-time. The Bulldogs hosted Fresno Pacific for an exhibition on Nov. 1, winning 96-67.
-Provided by Cal Poly