Special to the Daily Sundial
The CSUN women’s basketball team found out right away why the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs are in second place in the Big West Conference, as they delivered an 83-53 rout of the Matadors at the Matadome on Jan. 28.
Junior Jamie McCaa led CSUN with 21 points and junior LaJoyce King helped with 16. But Cal Poly got a balanced attack, as Anthonia Newman scored 12 points while Jessica Eggleston and Emilie Ravn each had 10.
“A lot of a hats off and a lot of respect to (Cal) Poly,” CSUN head coach Staci Schulz said. “They got it going on this year, they’re second in our conference for a reason.”
Cal Poly jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. Junior Jazelle Burries scored CSUN’s first two baskets to close the deficit to 9-4. Cal Poly, however, got hot, outscoring CSUN 23-6 in a six-minute span to take a commanding 32-10 lead.
McCaa tried to get the Matadors back into the game, hitting three jumpers and two free-throws. A layup by sophomore Katie Holloway and a jumper by King cut the CSUN deficit to 39-22, but the Matadors could not get any closer as Cal Poly outscored CSUN 12-2 in the final moments of the first half to take a 50-29 halftime lead.
Cal Poly refused to let up on the Matadors in the second half. A King free throw cut CSUN’s deficit to 19 points, but it was the only time the Cal Poly lead slipped below 20, as the Mustangs outscored CSUN 29-11 to take a 75-46 lead. The Cal Poly lead peaked at 81-50 with 2:35 left in the game.
“I think we kind of lost it, bottom line,” Schulz said.
Cal Poly shot 45 percent for the game, including 31 percent from the three-point line. CSUN shot only 30 percent from the field and 16 percent from the three-point line, including an 0-7 mark in the first half. The Matadors also turned the ball over 21 times.
“It was really disappointing, but Cal Poly’s a good team,” McCaa said. “They did good tonight, we give them their respect.”
Just two nights earlier, CSUN put up a strong effort against UC Santa Barbara at the Matadome, but came up just short, losing 54-51.
The Matadors jumped up to an early 22-12 lead, and took a 30-25 halftime advantage.
The Gauchos opened the second half on an 8-2 run to take a 33-32 lead. The lead changed hands several times, with CSUN holding a 41-40 lead with 8:35 left in the game before UCSB took the lead back. CSUN never trailed by more than five. The Matadors had a chance to send the game into overtime with six seconds left, but McCaa missed a three from the right corner as time expired.
The Matadors fell to 5-14 on the season, 2-5 in conference play while Cal Poly improved to 10-7 and 5-2 in the Big West. The Mustangs are now two games behind first-place Long Beach State, who is 7-0 in the Big West.
CSUN will have a chance to redeem themselves when they host UC Davis on Feb. 4 at the Matadome. The game is part of a doubleheader with the men’s team, who host UC Irvine at 4 p.m. The women’s game begins at 1 p.m.
“We’re hungry for the next game,” McCaa said. “We need to get back on a winning track and we’re going to work hard in practice this week. I know the girls on our team are hungry for a win.”
Ivan Yeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org