Jan. 28, 2012
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Hannah Stephens led three UC Davis players in double figures, but Cal Poly got out to a strong lead in the first half that the Mustangs would not relinquish, taking an 87-65 women's basketball victory on Saturday at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo.
UC Davis moves to 13-7 overall and 5-3 in the Big West, snapping a four-game winning streak, while Cal Poly improves to 8-12 overall and a 5-3 record in league action. The Aggies and the Mustangs are now tied for second place in the Big West Conference.
Stephens followed her 17-point performance from Thursday against UC Santa Barbara with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting against the Mustangs. She was 2-of-2 from three-point range and hit 3-of-5 from the free throw line.
"Hannah has been so consistent throughout the year," said head coach Jennifer Gross. "She is one of the hardest working players on our team, which goes to show that if you practice and you put the time in and work at that pace, then you're going to take it to the game and you're going to be prepared. She's been so reliable both offensively and defensively. She brings a great level of energy and focus to the game and I think she's doing a tremendous job."
Cortney French added a career-high 16 points, hitting 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. Blair Shinoda added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. As a team, UC Davis shot 45 percent, but were just 14-of-21 from the free throw line.
The Mustangs were led by Ashleey Burns' game-high 20 points as she hit 6-of-10 from three-point range. Kristina Santiago added 17 points while Kayla Griffin scored 16 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Cal Poly jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back as the Mustangs took a 10-4 lead with 16 minutes to play behind back-to-back treys from Ashlee Burns and two straight layups from Kristina Santiago. Shinoda cut the Mustang lead to just four points with a jumper in the lane, then Stephens hit a three pointer with 14:23 to play, bringing the score to a 12-9 Cal Poly lead.
The Mustangs used a 9-2 run to build up a double-digit lead with 11:55 to go in the first half before Shinoda stopped the run with a layup in the paint. Lauren Juric added a layup at the 11-minute mark to bring the score to 24-15, but Cal Poly resumed control of the game with an 18-0 run for a 41-15 lead with 4:13 to go in the first half.
French finally found the basket for UC Davis, hitting a trey from the left wing to stop the Aggies' seven-minute scoreless drought, then laying the ball in for another bucket just 30 seconds later. She then hit her second trey of the game as the halftime buzzer sounded and the teams headed into the locker rooms with Cal Poly leading 52-25.
"The confidence that we showed at the UC Santa Barbara game was missing, and we were playing a little passive," said Gross. "We weren't being very assertive and Cal Poly came out really confidently and we just didn't match it. Against a quality basketball team like this, you can get yourself into a hole pretty quickly. First and foremost, we weren't getting it done defensively. We're a team that prides itself on defense, so it was disappointing that we were giving them so many easy looks in the first half."
Stephens did her part to keep the Aggies in the game, scoring the first nine points of the second half for UC Davis. She nailed a three in the opening minutes, then added two layups and a jump shot before French took over with a three pointer of her own at the 11:35 mark.
With UC Davis down 30 with 10:48 to play, Shinoda took a pass from Juric for a layup in the paint, then sank a three of her own less than a minute later.
Down the stretch, Kelsey Beard completed a successful and-one opportunity after she was fouled while going up for a layup. Her free throw was good, bringing the score to 81-50 with 6:37 to play. Stephens sank 3-of-4 free throws over the next two minutes, then French stepped up again, hitting a layup while being fouled and making her free throw as well.
In addition to a three from Sydnee Fipps, the Aggies would close the game on free throws for the 87-65 final score.
UC Davis closes out its three-game road trip with a midweek contest against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at Titan Gym.