Sierra Campisano had her second consecutive 26-point performance, and Mustang teammate Abbey Ellis added 15 points on Saturday, leading the Cal Poly women’s basketball squad to a wire-to-wire 53-43 Big West Conference win over CSUN at Mott Athletics Center.
Campisano went a career-best 4-for-4 from 3-point range, knocked down 5 of 11 looks from inside the arc, and shot a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in 36 minutes. The junior forward from San Diego, coming off a 26-point effort in Wednesday’s win over UCSB, also grabbed nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, Ellis also had a hot hand from deep, as the freshman point guard from Australia sank 3 of 6 attempts from beyond the arc, in addition to 3 of 6 from two-point range.
With the win, the Mustangs (6-9 BWC) took a game-&-a-half lead over UC Riverside for (4-10) for eighth place in the conference standings, and are now a half-game back of CSUN (6-8) for the potential seventh seed. Cal Poly possesses head-to-head tiebreakers over both thanks to sweeping each regular-season series home & away.
The top eight teams in the regular-season standings (which will be finalized late on March 7) ultimately move on to the Big West Tournament, with seeds 3 through 8 opening at Long Beach’s Walter Pyramid from March 10-11 for first-round and quarterfinal matchups before the semifinals shift to the Honda Center in Anaheim on March 13.
A Campisano 3 pushed an early Cal Poly lead to 12-4 with 2:48 remaining in the opening quarter, on the way to a 15-9 advantage after the first. The Mustangs took the largest lead of the day — 23-10 — on another Campisano 3 with 3:35 left until halftime.
Northridge, however, whittled the deficit down to 26-17 by intermission, and then pulled within 28-25 on a Meghann Henderson 3 with 5:10 to play in the third quarter. Cal Poly (9-17 overall) quickly answered with a 6-0 run capped by an Ellis 3, but the Matadors wouldn’t go away, narrowing the gap to 36-30 heading into the fourth.
De’Jionae Calloway converted a jumper in the key to bring CSUN (11-17 overall) within 44-40 with 2:57 left in regulation, but Ellis made sure the Matadors drew no closer from there, hitting another 3 with 1:13 on the clock to establish a 47-40 lead. Campisano made all four of her free throws in the final 25 seconds to ice the game.
Prior to tipoff, the Mustangs held a pregame Senior Day ceremony honoring their trio of graduating student-athletes: Jonni Smith (a Political Science major/guard from Denver), Alicia Roufosse (a grad student in Business/forward from Abbotsford, British Columbia) and Hana Vesela (a Communication Studies major/center from Pribor, Czech Republic).
Roufosse had 9 points and 7 rebounds in the start, while Smith played 10 minutes off the bench, helping the Cal Poly defense hold CSUN to 17-for-48 shooting on the afternoon, along with a 17-1 advantage in points-off-turnovers. (Vesela, last year’s leading scorer and a projected starter at center, was lost to a season-ending injury two games into the year.)
Junior guard Malia Holt distributed a team-high 7 assists for the Mustangs, who moved to 9-4 on the season when finishing with more assists than their opponent.
Cal Poly concludes its regular season flying to Hawai’i, taking on the Rainbow Wahine (televised on Spectrum Sports HI) at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, March 7.
-Provided by Cal Poly