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Clutch Dye Stahley performance lifts Cal Poly to 66-59 OT win over LBSU

Cal Poly senior point guard Dye Stahley hit the game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime against Long Beach State, and proceeded to score 10 more of her career-high 23 points during the extra period Wednesday night, leading the Mustang women’s basketball team to a thrilling 66-59 comeback victory at Mott Athletics Center.

The back-and-forth Big West Conference matchup saw a total of 17 lead changes on the evening, along with six ties. It amounted to a milestone night for Stahley, who also surpassed the career 300-assist mark during the win (now with 302), in the process moving to No. 7 in school history for all-time assists.

It was Stahley’s scoring that swayed the outcome of the game late, however. Between the final minute & 15 seconds of the fourth quarter and OT, she scored 17 points (spanning 6:09 altogether).

With the Mustangs (5-14, 2-6) facing a 50-44 deficit with 1:15 left in regulation, Stahley first sank back-to-back free throws. She then added two more free throws with 47 seconds on the clock, cutting the 49er lead to 50-48.

LBSU forward Naomi Hunt broke free for a layup on the ensuing inbound, though, to re-establish a four-point margin, and then Kianna Hamilton-Fisher sank a free throw to put the 49ers up 53-48 with 27 seconds to go.

Junior forward Hana Vesela — who also stepped up with a season-high 19-point effort Wednesday — did her part in the fourth-quarter rally by knocking down a 3 to trim the gap to 53-51 with 19 seconds left. Preseason All-Big West sophomore guard Shanaijah Davison made a free throw after being fouled on the next possession, but missed the second, leaving the door open for Cal Poly.

Stahley sank the tying 3 from the top of the arc with 11 seconds to play, deadlocking the game at 54-all and prompting a 49er timeout. Long Beach’s look at a potential game-winning buzzer-beater caromed off as time expired, sending matters to overtime.

LBSU (6-15, 3-5) started OT with a Hunt jumper to take a 56-54 lead, and then tacked on a Davison free throw for a 57-54 margin, but Stahley answered by drilling another 3 on the Mustangs’ next trip up the floor to tie it once more.

Justina King drove for a layup to regain the upper hand for LBSU, 59-57, but Stahley came back again from behind the arc, connecting from deep to put the Mustangs ahead 60-59 at the 1:24 mark. Stahley then made a running shot in the lane for a 62-59 lead with 34 seconds to play.

The 49ers’ attempt at a tying 3 rimmed out, forcing them to foul with just 16 seconds showing, sending senior forward Katie Nunnelley to the line, where she made both shots to push the advantage to 64-59. Fittingly, Stahley added the last two points of the game (back-to-back free throws with six seconds left) for the final score.

Stahley finished 6-for-13 overall, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 from the foul line to eclipse her previous career-best 19-point effort in the win over Eastern Washington on Nov. 28, also at home.

In a complete-game 45-minute performance, the 5-foot-6 Stahley also equaled her career high with nine rebounds. The grad of Dobson (Mesa, Ariz.) High also distributed six assists, moving past former All-Big West Tournament honoree Odessa Jenkins (298 assists from 1998-02) on the school-history chart.

Junior forward Alicia Roufosse added an efficient 3-for-4 showing on the way to seven points off the bench, all in the opening half. Meanwhile, Vesela shot 8-for-18 overall en route to her career high, playing 39 minutes in the win. Davison finished with 26 points to lead the 49ers.

Cal Poly continues its homestand Saturday, hosting defending regular-season champion UC Davis (15-6, 7-1) at 2 p.m. The Feb. 9 game against the first-place Aggies is also Play4Kay Day, as fans are encouraged to wear pink to support cancer awareness (with the first hundred fans to Mott receiving T-Shirts), and for every ticket purchased, $2 will go directly to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to support cancer research.

Fans can also make a donation at Saturday’s game starting at 1 p.m., or pledge a donation for every free throw Cal Poly makes in February as part of the Play4Kay Free-Throw Challenge.

-Provided by Cal Poly

Jessica Vo

Jessica Vo

Jessica Vo is the Sports Director at KSBY
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