Cal Poly played first-place UC Davis to a 41-35 deficit through the opening half Saturday, but the Aggie women’s basketball team started the second half on a 24-2 run, launching the defending regular-season Big West champions to an 85-61 win at Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs, coming off a 66-59 win over Long Beach State earlier in the week, started hot Saturday, using a 3-pointer by junior forward Hana Vesela and back-to-back drives by senior point guard Dye Stahley to jump out to a 7-0 lead with 1:43 elapsed.
UC Davis (17-6, 9-1) drew closer by the end of the opening quarter, however, finishing the period with a Cierra McKeown layup to trim the deficit to just 18-17.
Kayla Konrad gave the Aggies the lead with 8:52 left until intermission, sinking a 3 to move Davis in front 21-18. Cal Poly (5-15, 2-7) pulled within 26-25 thanks to a trey from senior forward Katie Nunnelley at the 5:48 mark, and then tied the game at 28-all on another Nunnelley 3 only 39 seconds later.
A layup from senior guard Kourtney Eaton sent UCD to the locker room ahead by the six-point margin, before freshman guard Maddie Willett opened the second half by sinking a fadeaway in the lane to bring the gap to just 41-37.
That’s when UC Davis took over, however, scoring the next 24 points to take a commanding 65-37 lead with 4:31 to play in the third quarter.
During the game-changing surge, which spanned 4:16 in the period, the Aggies knocked down nine straight shots, including 6-for-6 from behind the arc, en route to carrying a 71-46 advantage into the fourth.
Freshman guard Gianna Silvestri brought Cal Poly within 22 at two points of the fourth quarter upon hitting 3-pointers — at 71-49 & 79-57 — but the Aggies didn’t allow the Mustangs to get any closer down the stretch.
Silvestri finished 4-for-7 from downtown off the bench on the way to 12 points, and is now shooting 45.7 percent from 3-point range (16-of-35) for the season.
Vesela finished with a team-leading 13 points, while Stahley added 11 points, seven rebounds & seven assists. Stahley also had two steals on the day, bumping her career total up to 140, moving from No. 19 to No. 16 in school history.
Senior forward Morgan Bertsch, who came into the day No. 4 in the country averaging 23.6 points per game, scored 21 to lead the Aggies.
Cal Poly heads out on the road next, visiting CSUN at 7 p.m. Thursday in The Matadome, before traveling to UC Riverside for a 5 p.m. tipoff Saturday, Feb. 16 at SRC Arena.
–Provided by Cal Poly