Cal Poly rallied all the way back from a 13-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter against the Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, but the Titans — led by a 24-point performance by the conference’s leading scorer, Raina Perez — recovered down the stretch and held on late for a 67-60 win at Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs took a 22-14 lead in the first quarter when junior forward Sierra Campisano knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the period, but CSF chipped away at the margin with four straight points to head into the second down 22-18.
Perez drove for a layup with 5:37 to play until halftime to cap a 12-0 Titan run, putting the visitors up 26-22. Alicia Roufosse then tied the game at 28-all by converting a move inside the key, before Taylor Turney scored in the lane to send Fullerton to the break ahead 30-28. After returning to the floor, the Titans scored the first seven points of the second half, prior to taking their largest lead of the day thanks to a Megan Nieto layup extending the gap to 49-36 with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Cal Poly would answer with the next four points, however, via Roufosse sinking a baseline jumper and then adding a basket from the low post to narrow the deficit to 49-40 entering the fourth. Cal Poly kept the momentum rolling into the final quarter, as Kirsty Brown scored back-to-back baskets before Hannah Peterson made a 3, and then Brown returned to score again, tying the game 49-49 with 7:33 left.
Amiee Book responded with a jumper two possessions later, however, regaining the upper hand for Fullerton while igniting what would become a 10-0 run. Perez claimed a steal at midcourt and then broke free for a fastbreak layup to make it 59-49, prompting a Cal Poly (3-8 BWC; 6-16) timeout with 2:26 on the clock.
Brown added another layup with 2:13 remaining, and then point guard Abbey Ellis hit back-to-back free throws with 1:14 to play, pulling the Mustangs within just two possessions, 59-53.
Perez was able to crucially score off a drive with just 49 seconds left, however, followed by back-to-back Cal Poly misses the next trip up the floor, forcing the Mustangs to foul to stop the clock late. Fullerton (5-5 BWC; 13-10) put the game away at the foul line, making six free throws during the final 31 seconds.
Ellis finished with 15 points for Cal Poly, while Roufosse added 12 and Brown — who shot a team-best 5-for-7 — netted 10 points.
Malia Holt corralled a team-high 10 rebounds and distributed a squad-best five assists for Cal Poly, which had a 16-2 advantage in bench scoring for the day.
The Mustangs head out on the road next, visiting UC Riverside at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at SRC Arena, before traveling to UC Irvine for a 2 p.m. tipoff on Saturday, Feb. 22 inside Bren Events Center.
-Provided by Cal Poly