The were plenty of known quantities for the Cal Poly women’s basketball team heading into last season.
Namely, the Mustangs were led by leading scorers and all-conference twins Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe. And success followed: Cal Poly went 17-12 overall, finished second in the Big West Conference with an 11-5 record and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
This year, however, the Leaupepes are gone, having graduated, along with five other players from that team.
Needless to say, things could be more of a struggle this season; that’s played out through Cal Poly’s first five games, with its only win coming against Division II Academy of Art University.
Seven players are back from last year, and are joined by 11 newcomers.
The question mark entering the season is where the Mustangs will get scoring. Senior forward Devin Stanback has emerged as the Mustangs’ leading scorer early this season, averaging 16.8 points per game.
Expect head coach Faith Mimnaugh to experiment with different lineups before Big West play starts.
Senior point guard Dye Stanley should help provide leadership for the young team. She has started 53 games over the past two years and led the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio last year. Stahley had nine assists in the Mustang’s season-opener against the Academy of Art.
Sophomore Malia Holt had 13 points off the bench against the Academy of Art and earned the start against No. 8 Oregon State on Nov. 9.
The Mustangs will be bolstered by the signing of Hannah Peterson, who started the first two games of the year. The sophomore transfer played for Foothill College last season and shot 42.2 percent from 3-point range.
Stanback had 18 points against the Academy of Art and a career high of 26 against Oregon State. But she’s not limited to the paint, as she was 4-of-5 from 3-point range against the Beavers. No other Mustangs broke double figures in that game.
Stanback will need some consistent scoring support if the Mustangs are to replicate last season’s success.
Katie Nunnelley started the first two games. The senior contributed a combined 10 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.
With a team this young, the freshmen should have ample opportunities to prove themselves.
Gianna Silvestri, a guard from Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco, had 15 points off the bench against the Academy of Art.
Guards Alli Hallberg and Maddie Willett each saw action in the Mustangs’ first two games, combining for 16 points.
Willett has had a slow start shooting the ball, going 3 of 14 from the floor, but that shouldn’t last. Willett broke Gig Harbor High School’s scoring record that had stood for 11 years.