Brittany Lange was not thinking about NCAA records and had no clue there was a streak intact.
Completely unaware that the Cal Poly women’s basketball team had hit its first 11 3-pointers in a 99-66 win over visiting Pacific on Saturday — tying an NCAA record for consecutive 3-point shots made in the process — the Mustangs senior let loose on No. 12.
Lange, who scored 14 points and made the only other 3-pointer she took, joked that she might not have taken the pull-up jumper from the right wing almost midway through the second half had she known it was for the record.
But the way things were going, passing on the jumper would have betrayed the shooting spirit of a team that’s averaging more than 48 points in each of its past three halves, a steak going back to the previous game: A 69-48 win over UC Davis that put Cal Poly in sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference.
“Everyone was just firing,” Lange said. “We’re all working together. When we get in that rhythm, we all just start hitting shots, normally.”
The unfortunate miss was about the one thing that did go wrong for the Mustangs (15-7, 8-2 Big West) in a game at Mott Gym where the only drama left after Cal Poly took a 25-8 lead in the first seven minutes was whether the team could break some kind of 3-point record or score 100 points for the first time in eight years.
As it was, the 99 points matched the best point total for a Faith Mimnaugh-coached Cal Poly team facing a Division I opponent. The Mustangs scored 99 in a win over UC Irvine four years ago.
The 11 straight 3-pointers against the last-place Tigers (3-18, 1-9 Big West) tied a Division I women’s mark set by TCU in a 1996 win over Lamar, according to Cal Poly athletic media relations.
“I turned to my assistant when we made the eighth, maybe the ninth in a row, and I said, ‘I don’t think we’ve missed a 3 in this game,’ ” Mimnaugh said. “Next time, I think it was 10 for 10 maybe, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ And then somebody missed, and I was like, ‘Shoot. Doggone them.’ Because we had just talked about it, and it was like we jinxed them.
“It was just incredible. I don’t really know what to say. We’ve been asking the girls to shoot a little bit extra. We just torched it from the 3-point line, and I’m just excited to see that we did that.”
Mustangs junior guard Rachel Clancy scored a game-high 23 points and made all five of her 3-point attempts. Point guard Ashlee Stewart was 3 for 3 on 3s. Reserve point guard Desiray Johnston was 2 for 2.
Clancy was on the bench for Lange’s miss, where the coaches were already buzzing, but she, too, had little idea of the streak.
Cal Poly assistant coach Kerri Nakamoto said, “ ‘We missed,’ ” Clancy said, “and I was like, ‘Yeah, we miss all the time.’ She was like, ‘Not today.’ ”
The Mustangs really haven’t missed all that much this season. They’re the highest scoring team in the league at more than 72 points per game.
Cal Poly also leads the Big West in scoring margin (+5.6), field goal percentage (.452), 3-point percentage (.380) and rebounding (40.7 per game).
Those are impressive numbers for a team that was wondering how it was going to replace the combined 24 points and 12 rebounds it got from last year’s senior leaders — Megan Harrison and Lisa McBride.
The Mustangs have gotten upgraded production from junior forward Kristina Santiago, who leads the Big West in scoring (19 points per game) and rebounds (eight per game) — both career highs — this season, but Clancy and Lange have had the breakout years.
The duo combined for just six points per game in their career prior to this season, but Clancy is second on the team with 12 points per game and leads the conference in 3-point percentage (.506).
Lange scored just 5.5 points per game in the first 15 games this season but is averaging 14.3 points in the past seven games, a big chunk of Big West play.
“You never expect it,” Lange said, “but I knew that I could do it, having confidence in myself and my teammates believing in me, too, and the coaching staff.
“Losing Megan and Lisa we lost two bigger players ... and the players who stepped up, me and Rachel, shoot more outside. We’re just a different type of team.”