January 11, 2014

Mason Scores Career-High, but Cal Poly Takes Game 88-70

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.– UC Santa Barbara kept the first half close, but Cal Poly ran away with the game in the second to finish with the 88-70 win in front of a rowdy home crowd. 

The Gauchos' record drops to 5-9 after losing their sixth straight to Cal Poly, and they start conference play at 0-1. The Mustangs improve to 2-0 in its Big West schedule and are 8-7 overall. 

Destini Mason led UCSB with a career-high 24 points and six rebounds. She was followed by Melissa Zornig and Nicole Nesbit who scored 18 and 11, respectively.

In the first five minutes of game action, the Mustangs rolled out to a 17-9 lead as Molly Schlemer and Ariana Elegado each registered seven on the run. The two carried the Cal Poly offense all night as Schlemer finished with 37 points, while Elegado added 30.

Trailing 25-16 with 8:49 left in the first half, the Gauchos put themselves within two after firing off seven unanswered points. Zornig started the run when she caught fire from three-point land, making 3-3 of her downtown looks at that point. She and Mason led UCSB with identical 4-5 shooting performances from long range.

With the team on the doorstep of tying the game at 25, Elegado responded with a three-pointer of her own to put the Mustangs back up by five.

Continuing with the momentum, Cal Poly regained a double digit lead at 36-26 with 4:13 remaining in the half. However, the Gauchos again fought their way back into contention with an 8-0 run.

Mason bookended the run with three pointers, while Mi'Chael Wright added two points on a visit to the free throw line. 

Despite UCSB's effort to keep the score tight going into halftime, Elegado made the most out of the last few seconds of the first by hitting a three-pointer as time expired, giving Cal Poly the 46-39 lead. 

In the first half, the Gauchos drained 6-9 shots from three-point range to remain competitive. However, the Mustang defense did not let them see the same looks in the second and held UCSB to 3-7 at the three-point line. 

Playing the game as a true center, Schlemer led the game with 15 rebounds, which helped in the Mustangs outscoring UCSB in the paint 46-16.

UCSB will next take on Long Beach State in its first road game of the Big West season next Thursday at 7 p.m. An audio broadcast will be featured online at UCSBgauchos.com.