A late rally by the Cal Poly women’s basketball team to send Saturday’s game at Mott Athletics Center against UC Irvine to overtime was for naught as the Anteaters were able to pull out a 74-71 victory.
Irvine (4-22, 2-10) led 58-50 with 6:33 left in regulation, but Cal Poly fought back to tie it at 58-58 on a Hannah Gilbert bucket in the paint with 1:21 remaining.
A pair of Shereen Sutherland free throws put the Anteaters back in front, 60-58, with 54 seconds on the clock, but Lynn Leaupepe sank a jumper to deadlock the game for a seventh time, 60-60, to force overtime.
In OT, two Lynn Leaupepe free throws gave the Mustangs their last lead of the game, 64-63, at the 3:54 mark. The Anteaters took the lead back for good with a quick 5-0 run.
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A Dynn Leaupepe 3-pointer cut the margin back to one, at 72-71 with 52 seconds remaining. After two Irene Chavez free throws re-established a three-point gap, Gabby Grupalo’s look at a potentially tying 3 rimmed out on the final possession.
Ultimately Cal Poly’s three-game winning streak snapped despite Dynn Leaupepe and Gilbert combining for 45 points on the night.
In the Mustangs’ first OT game since Jan. 21 of last season, Leaupepe scored 25 points while Gilbert netted 20 (on team-best 9 for 11 shooting) and 11 rebounds.
It was the 12th career double-double for Gilbert, who also had a career-high six steals.
Cal Poly junior forward Emily Anderson added 10 points off the bench. Lynn Leaupepe also had 11 rebounds to go with her seven points and five assists, and sophomore point guard Dye Stahley matched her career high with seven assists.
The Mustangs ended the first quarter with their largest lead of the evening, 20-15, before the Anteaters stormed back to establish a 34-24 advantage with 3:13 remaining until halftime.
Cal Poly scored nine straight points to end the half, however, going to the break down 34-33 after a Dynn Leaupepe buzzer-beating 3-pointer just after the horn was waived off upon video review.
The Mustangs also scored the first four points of the third quarter to pull ahead 37-34 and complete a 13-0 run (tied for the team’s longest run of the season).
Eight of the night’s 12 lead changes came in either the back-and-forth second half or extra period.
Gilbert moved to No. 7 in school history in career scoring (with 1,089 points), while Dynn also moved up to No. 17 all-time (972 points) and Lynn Leaupepe No. 29 (718).
Cal Poly (10-15, 6-7) will resume Big West Conference play by visiting UC Davis on Wednesday, before returning home to host Senior Day against Cal State Fullerton on March 1.